Friday, June 13, 2014
Garnet "Ace" Bailey, born on this date in 1948, first played for the Edmonton Oil Kings in junior hockey from 1964 to 1967, including a Memorial Cup championship in 1966.
He was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the 1966 NHL Amateur draft with the 13th overall pick and started his professional career with the Oklahoma City Blazers of the Central Hockey League followed by further seasoning with the Bruins minor league Hershey Bears in the American Hockey League in the 1968-69 season where he had a nice season with 56 points in 60 games. Bailey excelled in the playoffs with 14 points in 9 games as Hersey won the Calder Cup as AHL champions. He also found the time to make his NHL debut with the Bruins, seeing action in eight games during which he scored his first NHL goal on his way to six points. He even got his first taste of NHL playoff action in one postseason game for Boston.
The 1969-70 season saw him crack the Bruins lineup, appearing in 58 regular season games. While Bailey did not suit up for any of the Bruins playoff games, that season (perhaps due to injury) his name was included among those engraved on the Stanley Cup following the Bruins championship, capped off by Bobby Orr's famous cup winning overtime goal in Game 4.
His next season was split between the Boston and Oklahoma City before finally establishing himself as a full-time NHL regular in 1971-72 when he skated in 73 games for the Bruins as well as 13 playoff games, including scoring the game winning goal in Game 1 of the 1972 Stanley Cup Finals versus the New York Rangers, as Bailey got his name on the Stanley Cup for the second time.
Bailey's next three seasons in the NHL were ones of change, as the Bruins traded him to the Red Wings after 57 games of the 1972-73 season. Half way through the next season, Detroit sent Bailey to the St. Louis Blues. Once more Bailey was on the trading block, when St. Louis dealt him to the Washington Capitals after 49 games of the 1974-75 season despite Bailey having already set a career high with 41 points in 49 games for the Blues. Combined with the 17 points he scored in 22 game for the Capitals, his 58 points would remain the best offensive output of his 10 years in the NHL.
Washington proved to be a good fit of Bailey, and he would see action in 67 games in 1975-76 and 78 the following year, his second highest scoring season with 46 points.
Bailey, who was known for his sense of humor once received a four-inch-manual from Capitals head coach Tom McVie, telling him how to get into condition. Bailey used the manual to prop up a beer keg in his bar. On the first day of training camp, according to theSan Francisco Chronicle, Bailey beat several other players in a footrace, and McVie said approvingly, "Ace, I can see you used your book this summer." Bailey replied, "Coach, I used it every day."
Another story relates how McVie once scheduled a practice for the squad at the ungodly hour of 4 AM. As the sleepy players arrived in their hotel lobby, Bailey, impersonating McVie, had already called and cancelled the bus scheduled to take them to the rink, which eventually led to the cancellation of the practice and some much needed additional sleep for the team.
After one more season in Washington, his fourth, Bailey's career would come full circle, as he would return to the scene of his junior hockey roots in Edmonton, this time with the Oilers of the WHA for 38 games where he would become a roommate and mentor a young Wayne Gretzky, becoming one of the few players to play with both Orr and Gretzky.
His playing days concluded with seven games with the CHL's Houston Apollos in 1979-80, before retiring to become their head coach, and a single game with the Wichita Wind of the CHL (while he was their head coach) in 1980-81.
His final NHL totals were 568 games played, 107 goals and 171 assists for 278 points.
Beginning in 1981, he worked as a scout for the Oilers from 1981 to 1994 and win five Stanley Cup rings during the Oilers dynasty from 1984 to 1990, which included his name engraved on the cup three of those times.
Sadly, while working as the director of pro scouting for the Los Angeles Kings, Bailey was a passenger on United Airlines Flight 175 which was crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, killing all on board. The Ace Bailey Children's Foundation was established in his memory. To make a donation, simply follow this link.
Today's featured jersey is a 1978-79 Edmonton Oilers "Ace" Bailey jersey as worn during Bailey's only WHA season. The Oilers adopted this style jersey during their third WHA season of 1974-75 and used this version of the logo with the blue lettering on an orange background through their final WHA season of 1978-79. When the Oilers joined the NHL the following season, the logos on both the home and road jerseys were changed to blue letters on a white background, a higher contrast and much more pleasing combination.
Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a Koho 2001-02 Los Angeles Kings Glen Murray jersey, which features the "AM" patch in memory of Ace Bailey and Mark Bavis, a fellow scout with the Kings who was also killed on board Flight 175 with Bailey. The jersey also is adorned with the 2002 NHL All-Star Game which was hosted by the Kings that season.
The Kings introduced this purple jersey as an alternate style to their white home and black road jerseys in 1999 and wore it for three seasons. At the time, the all the home jerseys in the NHL were branded as CCM, while the dark and alternate jerseys carried the Koho brand and the practice jerseys were tagged Jofa, as all three brands were part of the same company.
Later, in time for the 2002-03 season, the Kings flipped logos on their jerseys, making the crown logo seen here, the new primary logo for both their white and black jerseys, where it remains in use today, while the purple alternate jersey began to use the coat of arms logo (seen here on the shoulders as a secondary logo) through 2006-07 prior to the purple jersey being discontinued with the change to the new Reebok Edge jerseys, which dictated the temporary elimination of alternate jerseys.
Our first video today is a look at the Ace Bailey Got Skills program, created in Bailey's memory.
Our second video is from the Ace Bailey Children's Foundation.
Again, if you'd like to make a donation, simply click on the image below.