A former professional hockey player named Mark Pavelich, who is best known for being part of the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" Olympic team, has been charged with felony assault. According to the New York Post, he allegedly beat his neighbor with a metal pole and broke several bones. According to a criminal complaint, the incident occurred last week at Pavelich's home in northern Minnesota.
Pavelich, 61, and his neighbor had returned from fishing this past Thursday when the assault occurred. The former hockey star told authorities that he believed his neighbor had "spiked" his beer, prompting him to grab a metal pole and allegedly assault the man.
The victim was found with a bruised kidney and several broken bones, which included a fractured vertebra and two cracked ribs. He was reportedly in shock with an obvious disfigurement of his leg.
37 years ago today... Miracle on Ice pic.twitter.com/OH0B2PXYQQ— The Hockey Hangout (@HockeyHangout) February 22, 2017
While Pavelich cited spiked beer as the cause for the alleged attack, his family believes in a different culprit. His sister, Jean Gevik, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the family believes Pavelich has CTE from concussions and blows to head throughout his career.
A judge has ordered an evaluation to be done on Pavelich, according to the Duluth News Tribune. "There is reason to doubt [Pavelich's] competency," Judge Michael Cuzzo wrote.
According to NBC Sports, Pavelich was a reclusive figure following the accidental death of his wife in 2012. He avoided the Miracle reunions throughout the years, including the 2002 Olympic Opening Ceremony cauldron lighting. In 2014, Pavelich sold his gold medal for more than $250,000 to provide for his daughter.
A seven-year pro in the NHL, Pavelich spent five seasons as a forward for the New York Rangers and one apiece with the Minnesota North Stars and the San Jose Sharks. In five seasons with the Rangers, Pavelich scored 318 goals. He added another 11 over the next two seasons to finish his career with 329 total.