With Caps, Ace Bailey Played Hard, Partied Hard

Posted September 11, 2013

Garnet “Ace” Bailey – all photos via The Washington Capitals

Former Washington Capitals winger Garnet “Ace” Bailey was one of nearly 3,000 people who died during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. At the time, he was the pro scouting director of the L.A. Kings, on United Airlines flight 175 back to Los Angeles from Boston with scout Mark Bavis. Former Caps coach Bruce Boudreau had also been with them, but left a day earlier.

Boudreau wrote about one of Bailey’s practical jokes in Gabby: Confessions of a Hockey Lifer, which Japers’ Rink excerpted several years ago. Though it may have been one of the final jokes Bailey played, it was hardly the first.

“Ace was always in the middle of it,’ said Gord Lane, a former teammate who played with Bailey in Washington. “He played practical jokes on almost everyone. Mostly X-rated.”

Lane recalled a time when Bailey was renting a house in Landover, Md. The house had a fire place but he didn’t have any fire wood. That didn’t stop Bailey from making a fire, though, as he cut up some of the furniture to use instead.

Lane also remembered a time in Chicago when Ace’s head went through the glass, shattering it. He received 40 stitches on his forehead, then came back in to play.

Bailey, who would have turned 65 on June 13, played four seasons with the expansion Capitals, from 1975-78. He arrived in Washington via a trade with St. Louis. He scored 43 goals and assisted 71 times for 114 points in 207 games, according to hockeydb.com. He also collected 162 penalty minutes.

“Ace played hard, and partied hard,” Lane said.

Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/-
1974-75 Washington Capitals NHL 22 4 13 17 8
1975-76 Washington Capitals NHL 67 13 19 32 75 -42
1976-77 Washington Capitals NHL 78 19 27 46 51
1977-78 Washington Capitals NHL 40 7 12 19 28 -12

Garnet "Ace" Bailey - photo via The Washington Capitals