The Desperate search for survivors on the morning of Sept. II reached all the way to the exercise room at Boston University, where Jack Parker, the men's hockey coach, asked an assistant coach, "Has Mark Bavis been here?" No, his assistant answered, Bavis hadn't come by.
"That's when our hearts sank," Parker recalled last Friday. "Mark said he was going to be at BU for a workout if he didn't make the early flight to Los Angeles."
Mark's identical twin, Michael, another Terriers assistant coach and, like his brother, a former BU player, was in Calgary when he found out that two planes from Boston had crashed into the World Trade Center towers. Friends say Michael, 31, knew—immediately and intuitively—that Mark, an amateur scout for the Los Angeles Kings who had been traveling with Ace Bailey, the team's director of pro scouting, had been on one of the doomed flights.
The Bavis twins, the youngest of eight children, helped lead Catholic Memorial High outside of Boston to three state titles in the 1980s. "When Jackie Parker signed them to come to BU, I told him, 'You're going to have penalty killers for four years," says Catholic Memorial coach Bill Hanson. "They had that instinct: Each knew what the other was going to do."
Mark and Mike helped lead BU to the Frozen Four three times, going as far as the 1991 NCAA championship game, which the Terriers lost in triple overtime to Northern Michigan. "We had a lot of great players on those teams," says one of its members, Dan Donato, "but none of them was more important to winning games than the Bavises. Mark and Mike were the hardest workers, the kind who would block shots or go into the corner to get the puck, and they were totally unselfish."
When all U.S. airports were shut down on Sept. II, Michael was stranded in Canada, where he had been scouting a tournament for the Terriers. He was consoled there by Tom Mutch, an assistant coach for Nebraska at Omaha, whose brother had been killed by a drunken driver on Cape Cod in 1992. The two men spent three days talking about their losses as they drove to Minneapolis, where a private plane arranged by friends and relatives was waiting to take them to Manchester, N.H. At 3:30 on Friday morning a distraught Parker picked them up and drove them home.
"Michael can't even see me yet, he's so broken up," Kevin O'Sullivan, a friend and former teammate, said on Saturday. "While we were at BU, the twins would call each other five times a day. I'd grab the phone from one of them and say, 'What can you be talking about? You already spend 22 hours a day together.' But that's how they were. It's going to be very tough for Michael for a long time."