Today we here at Odd Man Rush remember those who lost their lives on that terrible day five years ago who either played or were associated with Hockey.
May God bless and bring peace to all those who have suffered so much.
"He was such a unique guy, and it was a unique experience playing for that team," said Roulston, a financial adviser in Wichita. "We were so laden with talent, a little bit larger than life. And that was Ace, too, a little bit larger than life."
"Ace was full of life, and that's what made it more painful," Roulston said. "You want to have someone like that around as long as possible. That's someone you just don't want to lose."
Mark Bavis, 31, was heading from Boston to the Kings' training camp in El Segundo to begin his second season with the organization. Three months earlier, on his recommendation, the Kings had drafted Mike Cammalleri, whose feistiness echoed Bavis' tenacity as a college and minor-league player.
"Mark was very professional, very focused, very determined," said Dave Taylor, then the Kings' general manager, now involved in player development. "I know he'd attended a lot of leadership conferences and had mentored kids in high school, and also at Boston University."
Members of The FDNY Hockey Club
Sports isn't supposed to be life and death, but players in the 26-team Remembrance Tournament, in Hackensack, N.J., know it can be. Hockey saved some of their lives.
An untold number were scheduled to work Sept. 11, 2001, but swapped so they could attend the start of hockey practice and tryouts that morning. Even though none made it to practice, instead responding to the emergency, many arrived after both towers collapsed.
By then, some of those covering their shifts had died.
"There are guys that carry that around with them, guys that feel the 'it should have been me' type of mentality," Fortunato said.
For all the firefighters, this tournament was a chance to "turn the corner" after years of grieving, Fortunato said.
"It also brings back memories of the guys that used to skate with us that were lost five years ago," he said. "As we gather back together, the stories surface again and we kind of resurrect them - now I guess with smiles instead of the tears we shed a few years back."