Minute after minute, as events unfolded, millions of Americans sat riveted in horror to the events of an eerie Tuesday morning, wondering what could happen next.
And then it happens. Already shaking our heads in disbelief, along comes another blow.Someone you know is among the carnage.
Former Boston University forward Mark Bavis (1989-93), along with fellow Los Angeles Kings scout, and long-time NHL player, "Ace" Bailey, were headed back to L.A. for the start of Kings camp. That's when fate stuck them in the middle of a historically tragic event.
The hockey community is well-known for being a tight-knit group. When the news struck that Bavis was among those lost when a plane was deliberately slammed into the side of one of the World Trade Center Twin Towers, word spread quickly.
Among the first to hear was Jack Parker, BU's coach of 28 years. Soon thereafter, word got to UMass-Lowell coach Blaise MacDonald, an assistant for three years at BU while Bavis was there.
MacDonald was particularly shaken because he had just been with Mark less than two days ago. When he got the call from Parker, the tone in his voice told the story.
"As soon as I picked up the phone, I knew something tragic had happened," MacDonald said.
"Jack Parker is like a father figure to me, and he's been through an awful lot in his life. He taught me how to deal with these kinds of situations, but you're never conditioned for these types of events. It always tests your faith."
When Parker told MacDonald, he still hadn't gotten a hold of Bavis' twin brother Mike, a current BU assistant who was on a recruiting trip at a tournament in Calgary.
When news finally reached Mike, that's when it got to Dan Donato, now the head hockey and baseball coach at Salisbury (Conn.) Prep School, who was a year behind Bavis at BU. In another symbol of the tight-knit hockey community, the cousin of Donato's wife is Nebraska-Omaha assistant coach Tom Mutch, who was also in Calgary.
"We got a call pretty much right away," said Donato. "He [Mutch] knows how close I am with those guys. We grew up since I was 5 years old with those guys. We went to Catholic Memorial together, then we each did a post-grad year, and met back at BU."
The news spread like branches on a tree. One branch would get the news, and before you knew it, the shock waves hit the entire forest of the BU family.
Donato and his brother, Ted, a star at Harvard and long-time NHL player, played together with the Bavis twins on the same Catholic Memorial team, and shared that connection, too.