Mark Pavelich, a key component of the Americans’ 1980 ‘Miracle on Ice’ Olympic hockey team, was found dead at a mental health treatment center in Minnesota on Thursday, USA Hockey confirmed on Friday. Pavelich had been living at the Eagle’s Healing Nest facility since the summer of last year and that summer since a judge was accused of incompetence to stand trial. He was placed in a mental health treatment program by the courts. Police did not provide any details on the cause of death. Pavelich was 63.
USA Hockey said, “We are saddened to hear of the demise of 1980 Olympic gold medalist Mark Pavelich.” “We express our deepest condolences to Mark’s family and friends. Forever a part of hockey history.”
Pavelich was one of the leading scorers for the US national team that won the 1980 Winter Olympic hockey tournament in Lake Placid, New York.
He helped Mike Iruzione recover from the shocking shock of the Soviet Union, before the United States beat Finland to win the gold medal.
He would go on to an NHL career that included stops with the New York Rangers, Minnesota North Stars and San Jose Sharks. In 355 career NHL games, he finished with 137 goals and 192 assists.
“The New York Rangers are saddened by the passing of Mark Pavelich,” a Rangers spokesman said in a statement. “His determination, passion, and dazzling dazzle earned him the respect of Rangers fans during his five-year tenure in New York.”
The Minnesota Star Tribune reported that Pavelich may suffer from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, also known as CTE. The disease is believed to be caused by repeated head injuries and has been linked to many current and former professional athletes who play contact sports.
Pavelich was already in a metal health treatment after he was arrested by police for attacking his neighbor, who suffered serious injuries in the attack. Pavelich’s family and friends said he had become increasingly paranoid and confused. He also suffered from anosognosia, which is a person’s inability to see or accept that he has a mental illness.
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