Bavis Memorial Players Box honors hockey player who was full of spirit
The Boston University hockey community has long been known as a tight-knit
group. "We've got a pretty special camaraderie," says Mike Bavis
(CAS'93), who played right wing for BU, and is now an assistant hockey
That bond was apparent as soon as Bavis lost his twin brother and four-year
Terrier teammate a year ago. Mark Bavis (CAS'93), a scout for the Los
Angeles Kings, was a passenger on United Airlines Flight 175, which was
flown into the World Trade Center in the September 11 terrorist attacks.
On hearing the news of Mark's death, former BU players immediately began
phoning one another. And since then, the support Bavis has received from
his hockey family has been phenomenal, says coach Jack Parker (SMG'68,
That close relationship is just as obvious a year later. Both Bavis and
Parker were at Walter Brown Arena on September 9 to discuss how Terriers
young and old are paying tribute to Mark - the latest effort being the
Mark Bavis Memorial Players Box, which will honor Mark and other deceased
BU hockey players. The 12-seat box, in the new Agganis Arena, to be built
on the site of the old National Guard Armory, "is a message of solidarity
in memory of those we have lost," Parker says.
"One of the things that has been great about BU hockey for me is
the connection with former BU players," says Parker. "There
has been quite a family feeling here for a long time. That has been shown
many times over the years, so I'm not surprised by the response we've
been getting from them."
Parker pointed out past outpourings of support for the families of BU
hockey players who have died at a young age, among them Saul Weiss (CAS'71),
Guy Burrowes (SMG'72), Ric Jordan (SED'72), and Kevin Mutch (CAS'84).
Parker says that the luxury box will be named for Mark Bavis, but the
concept transcends the notion of a single former player tragically taken
long before his time. Still, after the events of September 11, 2001, a
committee of former players, including Parker, Mike Eruzione (SED'77),
Paul Giandomenico (SED'72), John Grady (CAS'72), Jim McCann (SED'69),
Bob Murray (CAS'72), Dennis O'Connell (SED'67), Tom O'Regan (SMG'84),
Kevin O'Sullivan (CAS'93), and Tom Ryan (CAS'88), decided that a memorial
named for Bavis was necessary and appropriate in the new arena.
"We felt that 'Bavo' epitomized the BU-type player," says Eruzione,
director of athletics development at BU. "He may not have been the
top player on the ice, but he was one of the hardest workers. We agreed
that he was absolutely the perfect person to name the box after."
Mark Bavis was a tenacious player. Parker used both brothers, affectionately
called the 'Bavi' by teammates, as a twin tandem to kill penalties when
the Terriers were shorthanded. During each of their last two years at
BU, the Roslindale, Mass., natives were co-recipients of the Bennett McInnis
Eruzione says that the box, for former hockey Terriers, will no doubt
be a popular meeting place between periods, because many who have skated
for BU will have already purchased season tickets in other parts of the
Mike Bavis says that after last year's tragedy, he was astounded at the
extent of people's generosity, both in the United States and in Canada,
where he was temporarily stranded on a scouting trip when U.S. flights
were grounded for security reasons. "People can be so amazing - how
much they want to help you through something as difficult as this,"
he says. "I certainly owe a tremendous amount of thanks to people
here in Boston and across the United States, who have reached out to my
family and tried to comfort us through a really tough time."
Bavis, a scout for the Los Angeles Kings when he was killed, was known
as a tenacious player when he skated for BU. Photo by Rudy Winston
Parker says that Bavis is still coming to terms with his brother's tragic
death. "It's been difficult because he doesn't tell you how he's
feeling," he says. "He's kept a lot of it inside for a long
time. It's starting to get a little bit easier because he's been talking
about it now. I think it's fortunate he has a wife and a new baby - he's
got responsibilities that keep him moving. I also think it was nice that
hockey started right after this happened. He's such a dedicated hockey
guy - his work ethic kicked in and he started to get his mind off what
happened to his twin brother, and he put more effort into hockey, and
more effort into raising his son, Jack."
Bavis still finds himself saying that he can't believe his brother died
in such a horrific act. "If I've done it once, I've done it a thousand
times in the past year - looking at a picture and saying, 'Do you believe
he was really on that plane? Can you believe that someone that I knew
that well was actually on that plane?" he says. "That feeling
doesn't seem to have gone away in a year." However, he says that
immersing himself in his coaching job - along with support from people
in the BU hockey program - has been helping him through the ordeal. "Fortunately
for me, I'm in a game where we get to act like young kids, so hockey's
been an amazing avenue to help me stay busy and focus on something other
than what happened."
In addition to helping memorialize his brother with the arena box, he
also started the Mark Bavis Leadership Foundation after he saw how many
young people - players his brother had coached and mentored in hockey
camps through the years - attended Mark's memorial service. The foundation
will provide Massachusetts high school students with college scholarships.
"Some of these kids drove from the Midwest to be here for my brother's
service," Bavis says. "That says a lot about what kind of a
guy he was."