Welcome |Account|Sign Out 
NEW! SIGN IN WITH YOUR SOCIAL PROFILE
OR
Username or EmailPassword
 
2014 NHL Draft
SHARE

Laviolette was rookie coach when attacks occurred

Friday, 09.09.2011 / 6:44 PM / NHL Insider

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Share with your Friends


Laviolette was rookie coach when attacks occurred
Now a veteran NHL coach, Peter Laviolette was conducting his first training camp practice for the Islanders 10 years ago when the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001 took place.
The tragedies of Sept. 11, 2001 will resonate with anyone who was old enough to understand the gravity of what happened. It's one of those moments where you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when the terrorist attacks happened 10 years ago Sunday.

Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette is no exception.

"I was probably two minutes into my first training camp as a head coach in the National Hockey League," he said. "Day 1. I'll never forget."

IN MEMORY: 9/11

Leetch still feels loss of close friend

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer
Rangers defenseman Brian Leetch lost a close college friend in the Sept. 11 attacks and found it difficult getting back to playing hockey in the days and months to come. READ MORE ›
Laviolette was a 37-year-old first-year coach of the New York Islanders on that fateful day. The Islanders were holding training camp in Lake Placid, N.Y., and Laviolette had just led the first group of players onto the ice.

"I might have heard first from the players, but shortly after that, five after nine or seven after nine, (General Manager) Mike Milbury came over and told me what had happened," Laviolette said. "Nobody was sure at that point. We didn't really know."

With so much uncertainty at the time, Laviolette decided the best course of action was to keep things set to the schedule he had established, so training camp continued that day. Laviolette wouldn't find out the full scope of the nightmarish events until much later.

"We continued on with camp for that day," he said. "We went through our thing. We had three groups, and went through the paces with what we needed to do. I didn't get back into my room and turn on the TV, really sit down and take it in, until later in the afternoon, 5 o'clock, 6 o'clock, to find out the devastation that happened that day."

The attacks left a personal scar on Laviolette. He knew Los Angeles Kings Director of Pro Scouting Ace Bailey, and had been a teammate of Kings scout Mark Bavis with the AHL Providence Bruins during the 1995-96 season -- both were on United Airlines Flight 175, one of the planes that hit the World Trade Center towers.

"I knew Ace," Laviolette said. "Mark Bavis ... I played with him at Providence. I knew the Bavis twins (Mark and Mike) because they're from Massachusetts (Laviolette is from Franklin, Mass.; the Bavis brothers are from Roslindale). Just one of those ones that shakes you."

Once he was able to absorb all of what had happened, Laviolette decided the best course of action was to continue with training camp.

"We continued to practice because we were in Lake Placid and we really couldn't go anywhere," Laviolette said. "Once we found out our families were OK ... sometimes it's best to get together and come in and sweat and work together, as opposed to being alone and just thinking about things. We continued to work."

Laviolette had a veteran-laden team, which included Alexei Yashin, Michael Peca, Kenny Jonsson, Roman Hamrlik and Chris Osgood. So he didn't really feel the need to address the team regarding the tragedies that occurred.

"When things happen to an individual, there's tragedy, that's not easy to take. When you board the plane, you expect to get to your destination -- you don't even think twice about it. That's when it really shakes you. Those are the ones, they grab you and they rattle you and they make you cry and they make you sad. Those are the ones ... you're thankful for every day of your life. You should be. Because if you're not ... you just don't know" -- Peter Laviolette
"We just continued working," he said. "We came in and got together. It's not necessarily me having to get up and say something. It's just players getting together and talking about things, as opposed to being alone in your room."

Laviolette said last Wednesday's plane crash in Russia, which claimed the lives of most of the Yaroslavl Lokomotiv team, brought back similar thoughts to those from that tragic day 10 years ago.

"There's those things in life that really jar you, that shake you," he said. "When things happen to an individual, there's tragedy, that's not easy to take. When you board the plane, you expect to get to your destination -- you don't even think twice about it. That's when it really shakes you. Those are the ones, they grab you and they rattle you and they make you cry and they make you sad. Those are the ones ... you're thankful for every day of your life. You should be. Because if you're not ... you just don't know."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK


Quote of the Day

I think I'm lucky to be here and you definitely don't take very many things for granted, if you take anything for granted. I definitely put my family and my wife and my close family in perspective, that they're the most important thing in the world. I want to do whatever I can to play hockey, but like I said, under the right circumstances.

— Stars forward Rich Peverley to "The Musers" radio show on The Ticket 1310 AM in Dallas