Mark Pavelich, a member of the “Miracle on Ice” 1980 Olympic hockey team, was found dead at a treatment facility in Minnesota, USA Hockey confirmed on Friday.
The cause of death was not immediately known. Pavelich was 63.
“We are saddened to hear about the passing of 1980 Olympic gold medalist Mark Pavelich,” USA Hockey tweeted. “We extend our deepest condolences to Mark’s family & friends. Forever a part of hockey history.”
The Minnesota Star Tribune first reported details about Pavelich’s death. According to the newspaper, police were called to Pavelich’s residence around 8:30 a.m. local time on Thursday where he was found dead. He was last seen on Wednesday around 8 p.m. at the facility where he was receiving mental health treatment.
Pavelich was living at the facility after a court ruled he was unfit to stand trial for an August 2019 assault on his neighbor. Pavelich was charged with four felony counts for the assault, which left the victim with several broken bones.
Pavelich, a 5-foot-7 center, was an All-American at the University of Minnesota Duluth. He assisted on Mike Eurizione’s game-winning goal that took down the highly-favored Russians in the 1980 Olympics. Pavelich played in the NHL from 1981 to 1992, mostly with the New York Rangers. He also played for the San Jose Sharks and Minnesota North Stars.
“The New York Rangers are saddened to learn of the passing of Mark Pavelich,” the Rangers said in a statement. “His determination, passion, and dazzling playmaking ability earned him the adoration of Rangers fans during his five-year tenure in New York. Mark helped inspire a nation through the integral role he played on the ‘Miracle on Ice’ team in the 1980 Winter Olympics. Our thoughts are with Mark’s loved ones during this difficult time.”