The death of former U.S. men’s hockey team standout Mark Pavelich has been ruled a suicide by a Minnesota medical examiner.
Pavelich, who made a name for himself as a member of the “Miracle on Ice” team that won the gold medal in 1980, died of asphyxia, according to Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office in Anoka County. His body was discovered at the Eagle’s Healing Nest in Sauk Centre, Minn., on March 3. He was 63.
Pavelich was undergoing treatment at the Eagle’s Healing Nest after assaulting his neighbor back in 2019 for allegedly spiking his beer. A judge then determined Pavelich was mentally ill and unable to stand trial. Psychologists found Pavelich to be suffering from delusions and paranoia and deemed him dangerous, the judge said.
“Experts also diagnosed him with a mild neurocognitive disorder due to traumatic brain injury, likely related to repeated head injuries,” ESPN reported.
Pavelich played center for the U.S. and assisted on Mike Eruzione’s game-winning goal against the heavily favored Soviet Union in the ’80 Olympics. Pavelich eventually sold his gold medal, two years after his wife died in an accidental fall in 2012.
He spent five years in the NHL, mostly with the New York Rangers.