'Miracle on Ice' Star Mark Pavelich's Death Officially Ruled Suicide

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVApril 6, 2021

Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images

The March death of former NHL player and notable "Miracle on Ice" Olympic hockey contributor Mark Pavelich was ruled a suicide on Monday.

The Associated Press reported the news, noting the Midwest Medical Examiner's Office in Anoka County, Minnesota, ruled that Pavelich died of asphyxia at the age of 63. He was found dead at a mental illness rehabilitation center in Minnesota on March 3.

According to the Duluth News Tribune, Pavelich resided at the center where he was receiving treatment as the result of a criminal case.

Per the Duluth News Tribune, he was scheduled to appear in court March 23 related to a 2019 case in which a neighbor said Pavelich accused him of "spiking his beer" and then assaulted him with a metal pole. The man suffered two cracked ribs, a bruised kidney and a fractured vertebra.

Pavelich was charged with second- and third-degree assault and two counts of possession of a firearm with a missing or altered serial number.

The AP noted the judge in the case declared him incompetent to stand trial because of mental illness. He was mandated to undergo treatment as a result.

Pavelich played for the New York Rangers from the 1981-82 season until the 1985-86 campaign. He spent the next season on the Minnesota North Stars and played for the San Jose Sharks in 1991-92.

While he appeared in 355 NHL regular-season games, he was best known for his role with the United States hockey team in 1980. He assisted Mike Eruzione's winning goal in the semifinal win over the dominant Soviet Union and helped the Americans capture the gold medal.


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