Mark Pavelich, the speedy Iron Range center who played on the “Miracle on Ice” Olympic hockey team, was found dead at a mental illness treatment center. He was 63 years old.
Anoka County, Minnesota, officials confirmed Friday that Pavelich died at the Eagle’s Healing Nest in Sauk Center, Minnesota, on Thursday morning. The cause and manner 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 residence 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 8pm on Wednesday.
“We are saddened to learn of the passing of 1980 Olympic gold medalist Mark Pavelich”, USA Hockey said in a sentence. “We extend our condolences to Mark’s family and friends. (He is) forever a part of hockey history.”
Pavelich was being treated at home as part of a civil commitment for assaulting his neighbor in Cook County, Minnesota, in August 2019, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. Pavelich thought the man had put a picket on his beer.
He was charged with serious battery, but Judge Michael Cuzzo found that he was unable to stand trial because he was mentally ill and dangerous. According to the judge’s December 2019 order, a psychologist discovered that Pavelich was suffering from delusions and paranoia. Another psychologist discovered that he suffered from a mild neurocognitive disorder due to a traumatic brain injury, probably related to repeated head injuries.
Pavelich assisted in Mike Eruzione’s winning goal against the highly favored Soviet Union at the 1980 Olympics. Eruzione tweeted on Saturday that Pavelich was a “real competitor” and a “great reason for our success at Lake Placid.”
Pavelich sold his gold medal for more than $ 250,000 in 2014, two years after his wife Kara died in an accidental fall.
Pavelich performed 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 briefly played for the Minnesota North Stars and San Jose Sharks, finishing with 137 goals and 192 assists in 355 NHL regular-season games. He had a five-goal game for the Rangers on February 23, 1983, in an 11-3 victory over Hartford.
“When I was 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,” said former Minnesota and NHL player Pat Micheletti. tweeted. “Mark Pavelich always let me join the Eveleth guys. 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 statement They were saddened by Pavelich’s death.
“His determination, passion and dazzling ability to make plays earned him the adoration of Rangers fans during his five years in New York,” the team said.