Midwest Medical Examiner's Office ruled the death of "Miracle on Ice" hockey star and longtime Northland resident Mark Pavelich a suicide Monday, according to a release by the office.

Pavelich, 63, was found dead March 4 at 8:35 a.m. at a rehabilitation center in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, where he resided as part of a criminal case stemming from his alleged assault of a neighbor at Pavelich's Lutsen home in August 2019.

The Midwest Medical Examiner's Office determined the cause of death was asphyxiation.

Pavelich had been scheduled to appear in court March 23.

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Mark Pavelich
Mark Pavelich

According to a criminal complaint, Pavelich had accused the 63-year-old victim of "spiking his beer." The victim said he was beaten with a metal pole, suffering two cracked ribs, a bruised kidney and a fractured vertebra in the attack.

Pavelich was subsequently arrested at his Lutsen home, where authorities seized several weapons, including an illegally modified shotgun and two guns with filed-off serial numbers.

He was charged in State District Court with second- and third-degree assault and two counts of possession of a firearm with a missing or altered serial number.

A forward on the U.S. Olympic hockey team that famously defeated the Soviet Union and went on to win the gold medal in 1980, Pavelich grew up as a prep star at Eveleth High School and became an All-American at the University of Minnesota Duluth. He went on to spend several years in the National Hockey League, mostly with the New York Rangers.

Pavelich had been undergoing mental health treatment since his arrest.

PREVIOUSLY:

To get help

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255

  • Crisis Text Line: Text MN to 741741

  • South St. Louis, Lake, Cook and Carlton counties/Fond du Lac Band: 218-623-1800 or 844-772-4742

  • North St. Louis County/Bois Forte Band: 218-288-2100

  • Itasca County: 218-326-8565 or 211*

  • Koochiching County: 800-442-8565 or 211*

*St. Louis County 211 services are not crisis-related