Olympic hockey’s “Miracle on Ice” star Mark Pavelich has been found unfit for trial in a Minnesota assault case because of mental illness, a judge ruled.
Pavelich, 61, of Lustern, Minn., was charged in August after he reportedly used a metal pipe to beat a neighbor he accused of spiking his beer after a fishing trip.
Mugshot for hockey star Mark Pavelich, 61.
(Cook County Sheriff’s Office)
The subject of his competency to stand trial came before a judge on Monday, and that judge ordered Pavelich to be committed to a psychiatric hospital rather than face trial, the Duluth News Tribune reported.
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“He’s been an amazing brother. Fun. Loving,” his sister Jean Gevik said Monday, according to the Minnesota Star Tribune. “This has been a total change.”
American professional hockey player Mark Pavelich #16 of Team USA skates on the ice during a 1980 exhibition game against the Soviet Union on February 9, 1980, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)
Gevik has said her family believes Pavelich’s NHL career left him with CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a chronic brain disease linked to erratic behavior and deaths among hockey and football players, according to the paper.
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Pavelich had two assists in the underdog U.S. hockey team’s “Miracle” 4-3 win over the Soviet Union in a medal-round game of the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y. The U.S. then beat Finland to win the gold medal.
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After his Olympics glory, Pavelich was a member of the New York Rangers for five seasons.