Mark Pavelich, a player on the Olympic hockey team from Miracle on Ice in 1980, was found dead in a treatment facility in Minnesota, USA Hockey confirmed Friday. The cause of death was not known at the time he was found and is not reported from Friday night. Pavelich turned 63 last week.
According to Minnesota Star Tribune, who first reported details of the death, he was found dead Thursday and police were called to his residence at 6 p.m. 8.30 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 20 Wednesday.
According to the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office, he died in Eagle’s Healing Nest, where he has been for the past several months while receiving mental health care.
He was treated at the facility after being charged with four felony counts for assaulting his 63-year-old neighbor, James T. Miller, in 2019. The court found he was unfit to stand trial for the attack and he went to live the facility to receive assistance.
Miller was treated for cracked ribs, a bruised kidney and a vertebral fracture, among other injuries.
Pavelich was part of the iconic American Olympic hockey team and was also in the NHL from 1981 to 1992, spending most of his time with the New York Rangers.
Many expressed their sympathy when they heard the news.
“We are saddened to hear of the end of the 1980 Olympic gold medal Mark Pavelich. We express our deepest sympathy to Mark’s family and friends. Forever a part of hockey history,” USA Hockey tweeted.
“The New York Rangers are saddened to hear of Mark Pavelich’s passing. His determination, passion and dazzling ability to play earned him the worship of Rangers fans during his five-year tenure in New York,” Rangers said in a statement. “Mark helped inspire a nation through the integrated role he played on the ‘Miracle on Ice’ team at the 1980 Winter Olympics. Our thoughts are with Mark’s loved ones during this difficult time.”