Death of ‘Miracle on Ice’ standout Mark Pavelich ruled a suicide


1980 Exhibition Game: USSR v USA
B Bennett / Getty Images

Last month, former “Miracle on Ice” hockey star Mark Pavelich was found dead in his Minnesota home. On Monday, a Minnesota medical examiner ruled Pavelich’s death a suicide. 

The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office in Anoka County ruled that Pavelich’s death was a result of asphyxia. The 63-year old was staying at the Eagle’s Healing Nest in Sauk Centre, Minnesota to undergo treatment after assaulting his neighbor in Cook County, Minnesota in August 2019.

Following the incident, Judge Michael Cuzzo ruled that Pavelich was “incompetent to stand trail” due to being mentally ill and a danger to others. Cuzzo stated that psychologists found that the former hockey star was suffering from delusions and paranoia, which could’ve led to the altercation. Pavelich was diagnosed with a mild neurocognitive disorder due to traumatic brain injuries, which likely occurred during his hockey career.

Pavelich was a huge part of the 1980 United States men’s hockey team that won the gold medal at the Lake Placid Olympics. Pavelich dished out the assist on Mike Eruzione’s game-winning goal against the Soviet Union in the tournament semifinals. He later sold his gold medal for $250,000.

Following his Olympic success, Pavelich played for the New York Rangers, Minnesota North Stars, and San Jose Sharks during his seven-year professional career. During that time, Pavelich registered 137 goals and 192 assists in 355 regular season games, which mostly came with the Rangers.





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