'Miracle on Ice' Hockey Star Mark Pavelich Committed to Treatment Facility by Minnesota Judge
Former NHL star Mark Pavelich has been declared “mentally ill and dangerous” by a Minnesota judge who also ordered the athlete committed to a secure treatment facility, four months after he was arrested for allegedly assaulting a neighbor.
Pavelich, 61, was found incompetent to stand trial after an expert report claimed he had a “mental illness or deficiency” that made him unable to participate in the defense, the Star Tribune reported.
Pavelich — who is best known as a member of the iconic “Miracle on Ice” U.S. Hockey Team that beat the Soviet Union in the semifinal game at the 1980 Winter Olympics — has been at the Lake County Sheriff’s Office since his Aug. 15 arrest for second- and third-degree assault, according to the jail roster.
According to the expert report, Pavelich was evaluated by two clinical psychologists who found he was suffering from various conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder, delusions and paranoia and a mild neurocognitive disorder due to a traumatic brain injury, the Tribune reported.
Both also said he opposed treatment, which echoes similar claims made by his family following his arrest in August.
At the time, his sister Jean Gevik told the Tribune Pavelich’s family suspected he may be suffering from the degenerative brain disease CTE, which they believe he may have gotten from the many concussions he received while playing in the NHL.
She and others told the outlet that Pavelich was “kind and gentle,” but that he began exhibiting concerning changes several years ago, and refused to seek help, as he did not believe there was anything wrong with him.
Pavelich will reportedly have another hearing in February that will determine whether he should remain committed. His attorney did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
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His arrest this summer came after he allegedly hit his 63-year-old neighbor with a metal pole at his home in Minnesota, the Tribune reported.
The incident allegedly took place after the two men had spent the day fishing together, and Pavelich accused his neighbor of spiking his beer, according to the outlet. The neighbor was hospitalized with two cracked ribs, a bruised kidney, a fractured vertebrae, bruises and potential internal bleeding.
Pavelich, who also played for the New York Rangers, Minnesota North Stars, and San Jose Sharks, has largely remained out of the spotlight since retiring from hockey in 1992.
His wife, Kara, died in 2012 at age 44 after she accidentally fell from the second-story balcony of their home. The couple had no children, though Pavelich has an adult daughter from a previous marriage, the Lake County News Chronicle reported.
He reportedly sold his Olympic gold medal for more than $260,000 in 2014 in order to provide financial security for his daughter.