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Mark Pavelich (1958–2021), “Miracle on Ice” star

by Linnea Crowther

Mark Pavelich was an NHL player who was a star of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, who beat the Soviet Union in an upset known as the “Miracle on Ice.”

Hockey career

Pavelich played college hockey at the University of Minnesota Duluth before being selected for the U.S. Olympic hockey team. Led by Coach Herb Brooks (1937–2003), the U.S. team was young and inexperienced compared to the Soviet team, which had dominated the Olympics for years. But the U.S. team pulled off an incredible upset victory, winning 4–3. Pavelich recorded two assists in the historic game, including an assist on the game-winning goal. He joined the NHL in 1981, playing as a center for the New York Rangers. He had one of the most successful rookie seasons in the team’s history, scoring 33 goals with 43 assists. In 1983, Pavelich became the first and, to date, only American to score five goals in an NHL game.

Notable quote

“I like to play consistently, as hard as I can every game, whether I score a goal or not.My goal is to be consistent. I don’t believe in working real hard certain games, getting a few goals, then taking it easy the next time. Anyway, defensive play comes first, and scoring goals is extra.” —from a 1982 interview with the New York Times


Tributes to Mark Pavelich

Full obituary: CNN

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