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Week of 13 September 2002 · Vol. VI, No. 3


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Mark Bavis Memorial Players Box honors hockey player who was full of spirit

By Brian Fitzgerald

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 coach.


A box in the new Agganis Arena will honor Mark Bavis (CAS'93) and other deceased BU hockey players.


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, Hon. '97).

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 Spirit Award.

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 arena.
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."

  Mark 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."


13 September 2002
Boston University
Office of University Relations