Mark Pavelich headshot from 1980

Olympic hockey gold medalist Mark Pavelich passes away

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Mark Pavelich, one of the key players on the gold-medal winning 1980 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team, passed away on March 5. He was 63.

Pavelich had been living Eagle’s Healing Nest treatment facility in Minnesota since he was declared unfit for trial following his arrest in 2019 on assault charges. The cause and manner of his death have not been announced.

“We are saddened to hear about the passing of 1980 Olympic gold medalist Mark Pavelich,” USA Hockey posted on Twitter. “We extend our deepest condolences to Mark’s family & friends. Forever a part of hockey history.”

Pavelich and his 1980 Olympic teammates authored one of the great stories in sports history at the Lake Placid Olympic Winter Games. With a roster full of college players and a few minor-leaguers, the U.S. won its first gold medal in 20 years.

Pavelich, a speedy center who went on the play six seasons in the NHL, assisted on Mike Eruzione’s game-winning goal midway through the third period as the U.S. stunned the Soviet Union, 4-3 – a victory known as the Miracle on Ice. Two days later, the U.S. rallied in the third period to beat Finland, 4-2, and capture gold.

He was a great teammate quiet very shy but on the ice a real competitor,” Eruzione wrote on Twitter. “And a huge reason for our success in Lake Placid RIP Pav.”

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The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum offers an immersive and universally accessible look into the journey of Team USA’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Through interactive exhibits, innovative displays, and a comprehensive artifact collection, the Museum instills the Olympic values of excellence, friendship, and respect, as well as the Paralympic values of determination, equality, inspiration, and courage in every visitor. It honors yesterday’s legends with the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame while inspiring tomorrow’s legends through entertaining activities and events. The USOPM is more than a museum but a life-changing experience that will continue to educate and inspire the public to take part for generations to come.

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