GRAND MARAIS, Minn. — A famously camera-shy Miracle on Ice hockey star living in northeast Minnesota remained in jail in Grand Marais on Tuesday, Aug. 20, following felony assault and gun-related charges.
Mark Pavelich was charged in district court in Grand Marais on Monday with four counts related to striking his neighbor on the back, arms and legs with a metal pole. Pavelich was additionally charged with being in possession of an illegally shortened shotgun that had its serial numbers filed down.
During his initial court appearance Monday, Pavelich, 61, was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation.
According to the complaint, Pavelich, a land developer in Lutsen, had been fishing with his neighbor last Thursday, Aug. 15, prior to the alleged assault later that evening. Upon returning home, Pavelich accused the neighbor of "spiking his beer," the complaint said. When Cook County Sheriff's Office deputies arrived, the neighbor was "in shock" with "observable injuries and an obvious disfigurement of his leg," the complaint said.
Pavelich was a forward on the 1980 U.S. Olympic men's hockey team, which famously defeated the dominant Soviet Union and went on to win the gold medal. The victory over the Soviet Union has been dubbed the "Miracle on Ice." While several members of the team have capitalized on their fame, it famously took Pavelich 35 years to return to Lake Placid, N.Y., where the upset took place. Media reports often describe how Pavelich enjoys fishing and covets his privacy. In 2012, Pavelich's wife, Kara, died following a second-story fall at the couple's home in Lutsen.
Following Olympic glory, Pavelich spent several years in the National Hockey League, mostly with the N.Y. Rangers. He grew up a prep star at Eveleth High School before becoming an All-American at the University of Minnesota Duluth.
According to the criminal complaint, a metal tension bar "or something like that," was discovered in Pavelich's yard and matched what the victim described as the instrument used to strike him.
Authorities conducted an official interview with the victim in the North Shore Health Hospital in Grand Marais, where the victim "was in a tremendous amount of pain."
"He had marks, bruising and discoloration of his arms and legs," said the complaint, which outlined additional injuries as two cracked ribs, a fractured vertebrae and a bruised left kidney.
"It was possible he was experiencing internal bleeding," the complaint said.
Pavelich and the victim live two driveways away from one another, the complaint said, "in an extremely remote and rural area of Cook County."
During their investigation, authorities also found an illegal shotgun at Pavelich's home. The shotgun had the buttstock removed and replaced and was shorter than the legal 26 inches. The serial number had also been filed off.
Pavelich is charged with four felony counts — second- and third-degree assault, possession of a short-barreled shotgun and possession of a firearm with a missing or altered serial number. The second-degree felony comes with a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine, while the other charges max out at five years and $10,000.
Results of Pavelich's mental health exam must be reported to the court within 60 days in advance of a competency hearing.