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Mark Pavelich, star of the “Miracle on Ice” team, found dead at 63


Mark Pavelich, the Iron Range fast center who played on the Olympic “Miracle on Ice” hockey team, was found dead in a mental illness treatment center. He was 63 years old.

Mark Pavelich, star of the “Miracle on Ice” team, found dead at 63
In this February 21, 2015 file photo, Jack O’Callahan, left, and Mark Pavelich of the 1980 US ice hockey team speak at a “Relive the Miracle” reunion at Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, NY

Mike Groll / AP


Officials in Anoka County, Minnesota confirmed Friday that Pavelich died Thursday morning at Eagle’s Healing Nest in Sauk Center, Minnesota. The cause and mode of death are still pending.

The Minnesota Star Tribune, which was the first to report details of the death, said police were called to his home at 8:30 a.m. local time. Those who responded to the scene say he appeared to have been dead for several hours when they arrived. He was last seen at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.

“We are saddened to learn of the passing of 1980 Olympic gold medalist Mark Pavelich,” USA Hockey said in a report. “We offer our deepest condolences to Mark’s family and friends. (He is) a part of hockey history forever.”

Pavelich was undergoing home treatment as part of a civil engagement for assaulting his neighbor in Cook County, Minnesota, in August 2019, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. Pavelich thought the man had stung his beer.

Mark Pavelich, star of the “Miracle on Ice” team, found dead at 63
American hockey player Mark Pavelich # 16 of the United States team in action during the 1980 exhibition game against the Soviet Union on February 9, 1980 at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York.

NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 09: American hockey player Mark Pavelich # 16 of Team USA in action during the 1980 exhibition game against the Soviet Union on February 9, 1980 at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York . (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Get


He was charged with criminal assault, but Judge Michael Cuzzo found he was incompetent to stand trial because he was mentally ill and dangerous. According to the judge’s order of December 2019, a psychologist found Pavelich to be suffering from delusions and paranoia. Another psychologist found he suffered from a mild neurocognitive disorder due to head trauma, possibly related to repeated head trauma.

Pavelich contributed to Mike Eruzione’s game-winning goal against the much-favored Soviet Union at the 1980 Olympics. Eruzione tweeted on Saturday that Pavelich was a “real contender” and a “huge reason for our success at Lake Placid”.

Pavelich sold his gold medal for over $ 250,000 in 2014, two years after wife Kara died in an accidental fall.

Pavelich played at Eveleth High School and was an All-America selection at the University of Minnesota Duluth before earning a spot on the Olympic team.

The 5-foot-8, 170-pound forward spent five seasons with the New York Rangers and played briefly for the Minnesota North Stars and San Jose Sharks, finishing with 137 goals and 192 assists in 355 season games. regular in the NHL. He had a five-goal game for the Rangers on February 23, 1983, in an 11-3 win over Hartford.

Mark Pavelich, star of the “Miracle on Ice” team, found dead at 63
The puck passed the feet of US goalie Jim Craig as a tight defense stopped the Soviet attack in the first period of the USA vs USSR ice hockey match on Friday February 22, 1980 at Lake Placid. The players are, from left to right: Mark Pavelich, William Baker (partially hidden), James Craig and Soviet player Helmut Balderis.

/ AP


“As a kid growing up in Hibbing, I used to go to the arena and hang out with the gear in hand while I waited to see if I could skate with the teams that rented the ice. , ”Former Minnesota and NHL player Pat Micheletti tweeted. “Mark Pavelich always let me join the guys from Eveleth. He taught me a lot about the game.”

Pavelich’s sister, Jean Gevik, did not immediately respond to a message.

The Rangers said in a press release they were saddened by Pavelich’s death.

“His determination, passion and dazzling playmaking skills earned him the adoration of Rangers fans during his five-year tenure in New York,” said the team.

Mark Pavelich, star of the “Miracle on Ice” team, found dead at 63
Ron Duguay # 10, Barry Beck # 3, Mark Pavelich # 40 and head coach Herb Brooks pose for a portrait before an NHL game in December 1981 at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York.

NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 1981: Ron Duguay # 10, Barry Beck # 3, Mark Pavelich # 40 and head coach Herb Brooks pose for a portrait before an NHL game circa December 1981 at Madison Square Garden in New York City , New York York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios vi


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