Bailey, Garnet "Ace"

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Garnet "Ace" Bailey


Canadian hockey player

Hockey player Ace Bailey played for five seasons with the Boston Bruins in the National Hockey League (NHL), then played in Detroit, St. Louis, Washington, and Edmonton before becoming a scout for Edmonton and then director of pro scouting for the Los Angeles Kings. As a Bruin, he was on the teams that won the Stanley Cup in 1970 and 1972. According to Matt McHale in the Los Angeles Daily News, although Bailey was not a superstar skater or top scorer, "He had an engaging personality that produced a thousand stories and hundreds of friends."

Son of a Hockey Player

Born Garnet Bailey in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, Bailey grew up playing hockey. His father, Irvine Bailey, was a star forward for Toronto in the 1920s and 1930s. Irvine Bailey's career ended when he was thirty, when a cross-check from behind, administered by Boston player Eddie Shore, almost killed him in December of 1933. The resulting head injury was almost fatal. Irvine Bailey's father was so angry that he took a train from Toronto to Boston, a pistol in his pocket, intending to kill Shore. He was picked up by police at the Boston train station before he could do any shooting.

When he was seventeen, Bailey was selected 13th overall in the amateur draft, ironically by the Boston Bruins, the team whose player had almost killed his father. Bailey joined the team in the 1968-69 season after scoring twenty-four goals and fifty-six points for a Bruins farm team, the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League.

In 1969-70, Bailey scored eleven goals in fifty-eight games; in that season, the Bruins won the Stanley Cup. They won the Cup again in 1972.

Bailey's most famous play occurred in Game 1 of the 1972 Stanley Cup finals against the New York Rangers. Late in the game, with both sides in balance, Bailey skated down the left side of the rink around Ranger Brad Park, who had the puck. Bailey, who had only scored nine times in that entire year, kicked Park's stick, and flipped the puck over Rangers goaltender Ed Giacomin and into the net. Bailey's teammate at the time, Phil Esposito , told a reporter for the Tampa Tribune, "I mean, Ace roofed it. We were so happy for Ace. We loved that guy."

Bailey met his wife, Kathy, on a plane while he was playing for the Boston Bruins. As a member of the team, he frequently flew to away games and Kathy was a flight attendant for Eastern Airlines.

According to McHale, Bailey treated his wife "like a princess, handling all the cooking, shopping and laundry." Kathy Bailey told McHale that he often called her when he was out of town to remind her of what was in the refrigerator that needed to be eaten.

"Coach, I Used It Every Day"

In 1973, Bailey was traded to the Detroit Red Wings. According to Bernie Czarniecki in the Detroit Free Press, Red Wings coach Johnny Wilson said that Bailey "gives us muscle" and praised Bailey for helping the team win in a game against the New York Islanders. Wilson also noted, "He was a very enthusiastic player. He played extremely well for us. He was a fast skater and challenged the opposition, home or road." Bailey played with the Red Wings for two seasons, then moved on to the St. Louis Blues, where he played another two seasons.

From 1974 to 1978, Bailey played with the Washington Capitals, then spent a year with the Edmonton Oilers. His playing career ended in 1979. Over his eleven seasons with the National Hockey League, he had 107 goals, 171 points, and 278 assists.


1948Born June 13, in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, Canada
1966Selected 13th overall in the amateur draft by Boston Bruins and begins playing with the Hershey Bears, a Bruins farm team
1968-73Plays with the Boston Bruins
1969-70Scores 11 goals in 58 games; Bruins win Stanley Cup
1971-72Bruins win Stanley Cup
1972-74Plays with Detroit Red Wings
1973-75Plays with St. Louis Blues
1974-78Plays with Washington Capitals
1978-79Plays with Edmonton Oilers
1979-80Coaches with Houston Apollos
1980-81Coaches with Wichita Wind
1981-94Scout for the Edmonton Oilers; during his time with the team, they win five Stanley Cups
1994-2001Director of pro scouting for the Los Angeles Kings
2001Dies while en route from Boston to Los Angeles on United Airlines Flight 175; on September 11, 2001, the plane is hijacked by terrorists and crashes into the South Tower of the World Trade Center, killing everyone on board

Bailey was known for his lighthearted approach to life, as well as to his sport. After being selected to play for Washington, Bailey received a four-inch-manual from Washington coach Tom McVie, telling him how to get into condition to play. Bailey used the manual to prop up a beer keg in his bar. On the first day of training camp, according to Tom FitzGerald in the San 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."

In the Los Angeles Daily News, a reporter told another story that showed Bailey's quirky humor and quick thinking. Late in his playing career, when he was a left wing with the Edmonton Oilers, Bailey shared a room with rookie Wayne Gretzky while the team was on the road. One day Gretzky and Bailey woke up only an hour before a game, and missed the team bus to the stadium. Bailey got Gretzky a taxi, then packed their suitcases and arrived at the stadium late. He put on his hockey gear and jumped into the shower. When the other teammates came back into the dressing room after the warmup, they found Bailey sitting in front of his locker, dripping wet, apparently from sweat. "Great warmup, Ace," some players said to Bailey, assuming that he had been out there playing with them.

Becomes a Hockey Scout

After ending his playing career, Bailey coached with the Houston Apollos and Wichita Wind for a year each, then became a scout for the Oilers. He was an Oilers scout for thirteen years and helped the team to five Stanley Cups before becoming director of pro scouting for the Los Angeles Kings in 1994.

On September 11, 2001, Bailey was on United Airlines Flight 175, en route from Boston to Los Angeles, when the plane was hijacked by terrorists and crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. All on board were killed in the resulting fire-ball, which destroyed the tower. In his memory, his family established the Ace Bailey Children's Fund, which benefits children who need medical care.

Career Statistics

BOS: Boston Bruins; DET: Detroit Red Wings; EDM: Edmonton Oilers; HOU: Houston Apollos; HRS: Hershey Bears; OKL: Oklahoma City Blazers; STL: St. Louis Blues; WAS: Washington Capitals; WCH: Wichita Wind.
WHA Totals3854922
NHL Totals568107171278633

Bailey was admired and respected by his colleagues. The Dailey News of Los Angeles reported the feelings of Ray Bennett, the assistant coach of the Kings, after his death. "Ace, if you were introduced to him, you knew him. He didn't just shake your hand. He grabbed your arm. He slapped you on the back. He under-stood that this game is really about relationships and the people you meet." In an article on the International Ice Hockey Federation Web site, a reporter quoted Wayne Gretzky, who said, "Ace may not have been the greatest hockey player to play in the NHL, but he taught many players how to win championships and more importantly, he was a winner as a person. We will all miss him greatly."



"Espy Recalls His Friend Acer." Tampa Tribune (September 15, 2001): 1.

FitzGerald, Tom. "Coach's Manual Handy." San Francisco Chronicle (September 18, 2001): D2.

McHale, Matt. "One Hard Year Mending Continues for Families of Kings Scouts Killed in Attacks." Daily News (Los Angeles, CA) (September 11, 2002): S1.

Politi, Steve. "Soul on Ice." Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ) (February 11, 2001): 5.

"Remembering Ace." Daily News (Los Angeles, CA) (September 13, 2001): S1.

Wheatley, Tom. "Bailey is Remembered as Fun-Loving, But Tough on Ice." St. Louis Post-Dispatch (September 13, 2001): C3.


Czarniecki, Bernie. "Garnet (Ace) Bailey: Left Wing A Jewel on the Ice in 1973." Detroit Free Press (November 7, 2002), (November 11, 2002).

"Garnet 'Ace' Bailey.", (November 17, 2002).

Moharib, Nadia. "Canadian Killed in Terrorist Attack." Canoe (September 12, 2001), (November 11, 2002).

"Stanley Cup Winner and LA Kings Scout Bailey Perished." IHHF. (November 11, 2002).

"Stanley Cup Winners." Wikipedia, (November 17, 2002).

Sketch by Kelly Winters

Awards and Accomplishments

1970-71Boston Bruins win Stanley Cup