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Mark Pavelich, star of ‘Miracle on Ice,’ has died at treatment home

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Mark Pavelich, star of 'Miracle on Ice,' has died at treatment home

 

Mark Pavelich, a speedy center from the Iron Range who was a member of the Olympic hockey team “Miracle on Ice,” died at a mental health treatment facility. He was 63 years old at the time.

Pavelich died at the Eagle’s Healing Nest in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, on Thursday morning, according to officials in Anoka County, Minnesota. The cause of death and manner of death are both under investigation.

In a tweet, USA Hockey said, “We are saddened to learn of the passing of 1980 Olympic gold medalist Mark Pavelich.” “Our heartfelt condolences go out to Mark’s family and friends. “(He is) indelibly etched in the annals of hockey.”

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Pavelich was receiving treatment at the home as part of a civil commitment for attacking his neighbor in Cook County, Minnesota, in August 2019. Pavelich suspected the man of messing with his beer.

He was charged with felony assault, but Judge Michael Cuzzo ruled that he was mentally unstable and violent and therefore unfit to stand trial. A psychologist considers Pavelich to be suffering from delusions and anxiety, according to a judge’s order from December 2019. Another psychologist discovered he had a mild neurocognitive condition as a result of traumatic brain injury, which was most likely caused by repetitive head injuries.

In the 1980 Olympics, Pavelich assisted on Mike Eruzione’s game-winning goal against the Soviet Union, which was heavily favoured. In 2014, two years after his wife Kara died in an accidental fall, he sold his gold medal for more than $250,000.

Pavelich was a standout athlete at Eveleth High School and an All-American at the University of Minnesota Duluth before making the Olympic team.

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

Pat Micheletti, a former Minnesota and NHL star, tweeted, “As a kid growing up in Hibbing, I used to go to the arena and hang out with gear in hand waiting to see if I could skate with the teams that rented the ice.” “Mark Pavelich has always allowed me to join the Eveleth crew. He taught me everything I know about the game.”

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

Pavelich’s death saddened the Rangers, according to a statement.

“During his five-year tenure in New York, his commitment, zeal, and spectacular playmaking abilities won him the adoration of Rangers fans,” the team said.

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