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'Miracle on Ice' Player Found Unfit to Stand Trial

Mark Pavelich's family blames NHL head injuries
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2019 4:34 AM CDT
Updated Oct 29, 2019 6:30 AM CDT
The photo provided by the Cook County Jail via the Star Tribune shows Mark Pavelich, a former professional hockey player and forward for the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" Olympic team.   (Cook County Jail/Star Tribune via AP)
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(Newser) – Mark Pavelich, a member of the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" US hockey team, attacked a neighbor after a fishing trip in August, authorities say—but he will not be standing trial for the assault any time soon. At a court hearing in Minnesota on Monday, Judge Michael Cuzzo suspended the trial after deciding that the 61-year-old was not competent to stand trial, the Duluth News Tribune reports. Pavelich "is incapable of understanding the proceedings, and is incapable of participating in the defense due to mental illness or deficiency," the judge said. He said Pavelich, who was arrested Aug. 15, is a "significant risk to harm others" and ordered him to remain in custody until he can be committed for intense psychiatric treatment.

Pavelich was charged with assault after the 63-year-old neighbor, who suffered injuries including cracked ribs and a bruised kidney, told police that Pavelich had beaten him with a metal pole after accusing him of spiking his beer. Pavelich's sister, Jean Gevik, tells the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the family blames "all the concussions and the blows" in his hockey career left the forward with the brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. She calls the case "heartbreaking" and says the family started noticing changes in Pavelich's behavior a few years ago. Gevik says Herb Brooks, who coached Pavelich in the 1980 gold medal-winning team and later at the New York Rangers, once said the player suffered a head injury so severe it could have killed him. (Read more Miracle on Ice stories.)

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