Mark Pavelich, Miracle on Ice skater, jailed on assault charges; family suspects CTE

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Mark Pavelich, a forward on the 1980 U.S. Olympic “Miracle on Ice” hockey team, is in jail on four felony charges including assault after allegedly beating a neighbor with a metal pole.

The incident took place Thursday, according to a complaint file.

A neighbor said Pavelich attacked him, with Pavelich accusing him of spiking his beer after they went fishing. The neighbor was “in and out of shock, but had observable injuries and an obvious disfigurement of his leg,” according to the complaint. He had two cracked ribs, a bruised left kidney and a fractured vertebrae.

Pavelich, 61, was reportedly ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation by a Minnesota judge on Monday.

“There is reason to doubt (Pavelich’s) competency,” wrote Judge Michael Cuzzo in a court order for the evaluation, according to the Duluth News Tribune. A Minnesota court official said that order is not public record.

Pavelich’s sister, Jean Gevik, said the family believes Pavelich has CTE from concussions and blows to head suffered in an NHL career that spanned parts of seven seasons, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

At the 1980 Olympics, Pavelich assisted on the game-tying goal against Sweden, scored and assisted on separate go-ahead goals against Czechoslovakia and assisted on a pair against the Soviet Union in the famed 4-3 upset, including Mike Eruzione’s winner.

Pavelich, known to be an avid hunter and ice fisher, lost his wife in 2012 to an accidental fall from a second-story balcony. He sold his gold medal for more than $250,000 in 2014 to provide for his daughter.

Pavelich, often labeled reclusive in stories on Miracle reunions that he was absent from, including the 2002 Olympic Opening Ceremony cauldron lighting, made a rare appearance at the team’s 35th-anniversary celebration in Lake Placid, N.Y.

“I wanted to come back and see the area,” said Pavelich, who walked outside from one end of the arena complex to the other for a press conference, while the rest of his teammates packed into shuttle vans. “We didn’t have much time to explore and see everything [in 1980].”

Pavelich’s seven NHL seasons were mostly with the New York Rangers.

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