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Fall 2011 Table of Contents

Remembering Mark

Mike Bavis recalls his twin brother, killed on 9/11

| From Commonwealth | By John O’Rourke

Mike Bavis (CAS’93) (left) and his twin, Mark (CAS’93), at practice before the Terriers’ 1993 semifinal Frozen Four NCAA tournament game. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

It’s the time of year that Michael Bavis has come to dread. “You think, here we go. It’s starting again,” says Bavis (CAS’93), BU men’s hockey associate head coach. “It’s emotionally draining.”

On September 11, 2001, Bavis’ identical twin, Mark (CAS’93), boarded United Airlines Flight 175 to Los Angeles, where he worked as a scout for the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. The hijacked plane crashed into the World Trade Center’s south tower that morning. Bavis was 31.

Mike Bavis lost his best friend that day. “From hockey to baseball to trips to the Cape, we were always side by side in all those experiences,” he says. “That’s what makes being a twin so cool.”

The brothers grew up in Roslindale, Mass., the youngest in a family with eight children. They began skating at age four and were soon shooting pucks into a regulation hockey net their father, a retired police officer, had given them.

Both brothers played at BU, where twice they shared the Bennett McInnis Award for Team Spirit. The Terriers advanced to the NCAA Tournament all four years they were on the team and won three Beanpot titles and one Hockey East Championship. “Growing up, we probably fed off competing against one another,” says Mike. “That made us better at our sport. But we were always pulling for each other.”

After college, Mark played in the American Hockey League as a ninth-round draft pick for the New York Rangers. He and Mike later became teammates, playing for the South Carolina Stingrays. Then Mark worked as an assistant coach at Brown and Harvard before joining the Los Angeles Kings.

Mike was in Calgary, Alberta, recruiting for the Terrier hockey team the morning of 9/11, when his wife called to say that something had happened at the World Trade Center. A short time later, he got another call, this time from one of his older brothers, who told him that Mark was scheduled to fly out of Boston that day. “I had this sense that I knew right then,” he says. A phone call from the LA Kings general manager confirmed his worst fear.

The Bavis family recently settled the wrongful death suit that they had brought against United Airlines. They were the only family of a 9/11 victim not to have either settled a lawsuit or accepted compensation from a special fund established by Congress.

Mike Bavis and his family expressed frustration with the court system, but relief that revelations about airport security were made public as a result of their lawsuit. Details of the settlement were not disclosed.

“For almost 10 years, my family never even considered the word ‘settle,’” Mike Bavis told the Boston Globe after the settlement was announced. In a separate interview with the New York Times, he said the case came to an end “because of recent rulings and manipulation of law by the judge.”

While pursuing the legal case took a toll, the family tries to think about the good times. “That’s helped us,” Bavis says. A strong religious faith has helped as well.

Then there’s been the support of the hockey community. “We’re really lucky in hockey that we have so many genuine, real people who care,” he says. “Because of how close those relationships are, they also continue to support my family.”

Bavis says his brother, whom he still calls “Marky,” is remembered as a loyal friend, “somebody his family and friends could count on.”

The Bavis family has established the Mark Bavis Leadership Foundation, which awards scholarships of $3,500 to $5,000 to Massachusetts high school students
who have made a difference in their communities or demonstrated leadership at
their schools.

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