'Miracle on Ice' Star Allegedly Attacked Pal With Metal Pole After Accusing Him Of Spiking Drink

Mark Pavelich was one of the hockey players who stunned the world during the famous "Miracle on Ice" 1980 hockey game.

By M.L. Nestel
Digital Original
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A member of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” U.S. Olympic gold-medal hockey team that defeated the Soviet Union has been found mentally unfit to stand trial for allegedly striking a pal with a metal pole once he suspected him of spiking his beer.

Pavelich, 61, of Lutsen, Minnesota was arrested and charged on August 15 with assault and possession of an illegal shotgun, according to The Minneapolis Star-Tribune

The case was suspended after Cook County authorities petitioned on Monday to have Pavelich civilly committed to mental treatment after declaring him incompetent to stand trial, court records show.

Quoting a psychologist’s evaluation, District Judge Michael Cuzzo informed Pavelich that it “indicates you need some assistance to fully understand” the criminal proceedings.

The psychologist’s report described Pavelich as being unable to comprehend basic legal proceedings and required him to undergo “intensive psychiatric treatment with neuroleptic medications,” according to the judge’s order.

Prosecutors initially sought to hike the hockey player’s bail from $250,000 to $5 million, claiming he presented a “significant risk to public safety," but Pavelich’s defense attorney argued in court that Pavelich was going to struggle to come up with the steep bail. 

Mark Pavelich Ap

The judge set the bail at $500,000, according to the Star-Tribune. 

Pavelich allegedly used the a metal pole to strike his 63-year-old friend and neighbor of two decades, James Miller, after they returned to the hockey star’s home near Deer Yard Lake from a fishing trip. 

Pavelich had accused Miller of “spiking his beer,” according to the Star-Tribune.

Miller suffered cracked ribs and a fracture to one of his vertebrae, as well as bruises on his kidney, arms, and legs, the publication reported.

The judge ordered the case to be dismissed in three years unless Cook County prosecutors give the court notice that they intend to prosecute when he regains competency.

Jean Gevik, who is Pavelich's sister told the Star-Tribune that her brother's mindset was damaged after “all the concussions and the blows he had” in the National Hockey League. 

She maintains that Pavelich suffers from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a degenerative brain disease that has been linked to hockey and football players who experienced various forms of head trauma.

Gevik described Pavelich as "an amazing brother."

“This has been a total change," she added.

Pavelich assisted on the winning goal in the famous 1980 Olympic hockey game; he would later go on to play for the New York Rangers, according to the Associated Press.

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