Sept. 11, 2001 is a day that will live in infamy for every American. But one group, who was not yet born when tragedy struck the shores of the United States, continues to honor one of their own by doing something he loved to do.
Mark Bavis, a scout for the Los Angeles Kings, was returning home from a scouting trip to the Big Apple when the United Airlines flight he was on was hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center.
Several months later, youth hockey organizers at the Bajko Rink in Hyde Park, Mass., the rink where Mark and his twin brother, Mike, grew up playing, decided to rename their in-house tournament in honor of Mark.
“[Mark] grew up playing hockey in Hyde Park when he was a kid, before he went on to bigger and better things with [Boston University] and with the Kings,” said James Moccia, the tournament’s director. “He was one of our own so we decided to rename it in his honor, and it’s been that way ever since.”
The Mark Bavis Memorial House Tournament is a three-on-three, cross-ice tournament that features teams from the Greater Boston area. Unlike most tournaments of its size, this one is comprised of only teams from in-house leagues, with players ranging from ages 5 to 10.
The 2014 tournament, which was played in early March, was the largest to date with 32 teams and 350 players. Each team played four games, before the field was whittled down to eight teams for the playoffs.
“It’s a great way to honor his memory,” Moccia said. “It’s personal for us because my brother-in-law grew up with Mark. There’s a connection there. It reminds us that people were lost that day and it kind of keeps it personal. Yet this is something good and happy that came out of it.”
For the Bavis family, each day still brings with it painful reminders that Mark is no longer with them. But according to Mike, who played with his brother at Boston University from 1989-93 and was an assistant with the Terriers for 15 years before resigning last May, having the tournament named in his brother’s honor continues to give his family a sense of happiness.
“It was one of the greatest things they could’ve done for us,” Mike said. “It shows everything that’s great about our game, and it’s something we take great pride in.”