When it comes time for the puck to drop, David Quinn's head is nowhere but in the hockey game. No one will blame him, though, if his thoughts stray a little bit on Tuesday night.
The Rangers will play host to the Colorado Avalanche on First Responders Night at Madison Square Garden, a game dedicated to honoring local first responders including members of the NYPD, FDNY and EMS. Amid the remembrances and tributes, the head coach of the Rangers will spare a few thoughts for two important men in his life who he has lost but never forgotten.
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Like so many, Quinn was awed by the heroism and sacrifice of New York's first responders on Sept. 11, 2001, and when he thinks of that terrible day, his thoughts turn to his friend Mark Bavis. Mark was a left winger for Boston University not long after Quinn played defense for the Terriers, and was drafted by the Rangers in the ninth round of the 1989 draft. Mark's identical twin brother, Mike Bavis, was Mark's teammate at BU and later shared assistant coaching duties with Quinn for five seasons at their alma mater.
Mark Bavis was working as a scout for the Kings and was flying to Los Angeles from Boston aboard United Flight 175 when it was crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Mark was 31.
"I was just with him two days before in Michigan, and spoke with him two days before that. When you lose someone that close to you, especially at such a young age, it just stays with you forever," Quinn told NYRangers.com on Monday. "But then, to just watch the first responders from the police department, to the firefighters, to the paramedics, to anyone who lent a hand - civilians too. I remember my dad being really affected by it, because I think anybody in that line of work puts themselves in that position."