Mark Pavelich, part of the United States' "Miracle on Ice" gold medal-winning men's hockey team at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics, died Thursday at age 63. No cause of death was given.
Pavelich scored seven points (one goal, six assists) in seven games at the Olympics. The forward had two assists, including one on Mike Eruzione's game-winning goal, in the famed 4-3 win against the Soviet Union in the semifinals.
"We are saddened to hear about the passing of 1980 Olympic gold medalist Mark Pavelich," USA Hockey tweeted Friday. "We extend our deepest condolences to Mark's family & friends. Forever a part of hockey history."
Pavelich played seven NHL seasons, scoring 329 points (137 goals, 192 assists) in 355 games with the New York Rangers, Minnesota North Stars and San Jose Sharks.
"His determination, passion and dazzling playmaking ability earned him the adoration of Rangers fans during his five-year tenure in New York," the Rangers said in a statement. "Mark helped inspire a nation through the integral role he played on the 'Miracle on Ice' team in the 1980 Winter Olympics. Our thoughts are with Mark's loved ones during this difficult time."
Pavelich played his first four NHL seasons with the Rangers under coach Herb Brooks, the coach of the 1980 gold-medal team.
"The National Hockey League mourns the passing of Mark Pavelich. A gifted playmaker from Eveleth, Minn., who starred at the University of Minnesota Duluth, Pavelich played an integral role on the legendary 1980 U.S. Olympic team," the NHL said in a statement. "He then became a centerpiece for five seasons for the New York Rangers, for whom he scored 133 goals with 185 assists in 341 games. Pavelich's 76 points in 1981-82 is the franchise rookie record. We send our condolences to his family, friends and the countless young players whom he and his 1980 Team USA teammates inspired to play our game."