Mark Pavelich

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Mark Pavelich
Born (1958-02-28) February 28, 1958 (age 59)
Eveleth, MN, USA
Height 5 ft 8 in (173 cm)
Weight 170 lb (77 kg; 12 st 2 lb)
Position Center
Shot Right
Played for NHL
New York Rangers
Minnesota North Stars
San Jose Sharks
National team  United States
NHL Draft Undrafted
Playing career 1981–1992
Mark Pavelich
Medal record
Men's ice hockey
Representing the  United States
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 1980 Lake Placid Team competition

Mark Thomas Pavelich (born February 28, 1958 in Eveleth, Minnesota) is a retired US professional ice hockey forward who played 355 regular season games in the NHL for the New York Rangers, Minnesota North Stars and San Jose Sharks between 1981 and 1992 and was a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team that won the gold medal in what has been called the Miracle on Ice.

Amateur career[edit]

The son of Croatian immigrants, Pavelich grew up in rural Eveleth, Minnesota. A star performer on his high school hockey team, Eveleth High School. He attended the University of Minnesota Duluth as an amateur player for three seasons in 1977–79. Pavelich is best known for being a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, that won the gold medal in Lake Placid. In the game against the Soviet Union, Pavelich was credited with two assists, including one on Mike Eruzione's game-winning goal.

Professional career[edit]

After the Olympics, Pavelich (who was never drafted by an NHL team) played one season for HC Lugano in Switzerland where he registered 73 points in 60 games. He also returned to the US national team for the 1981 Ice Hockey World Championship tournament. He was brought back to the United States the following year by his former US Olympic coaches Herb Brooks and Craig Patrick, who had assumed control of the New York Rangers since the 1980 Olympics. Despite his small size, Pavelich initially thrived in his role as a quick playmaking center for the Rangers (he still holds the Ranger record for most points as a rookie (76)). However, his career in New York was ended by a feud with Brooks' successor Ted Sator who introduced a traditional North American dump-and-chase style of play. Pavelich balked at the lack of effectiveness and disorder brought on by the changes.

Pavelich briefly played again for Brooks with the Minnesota North Stars in 1987 before returning to Europe. He had a brief stint in Britain for the Dundee Rockets and played two seasons in Italy for HC Bolzano. The expansion San Jose Sharks brought him out of retirement for the 1991–92 NHL season, but he would play only two games for the Sharks before retiring for good. However, he did manage to record an assist on the Sharks' first-ever goal, scored by Craig Coxe in the third period of a 4-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on October 4, 1991.

On February 23, 1983, Pavelich became the first American ever to score five goals in a single game (against the Hartford Whalers at Madison Square Garden in New York).


  • Ranked No. 83 on the all-time list of New York Rangers in the book 100 Ranger Greats (John Wiley & Sons, 2009).

Personal life[edit]

Mark Pavelich's brother in law was also a hockey player and now coaches for the Hibbing Bluejackets, in Hibbing, Minnesota. He currently lives in Tofte, Minnesota. In April 2014, Pavelich announced that he was putting his Olympic medal up for auction, with bidding beginning at $62,500.[1] Pavelich is the second player from the 1980 team to put a medal up for sale, with teammate Mark Wells having sold his in late 2010.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

In a 1981 TV movie about the 1980 U.S. hockey team called Miracle on Ice, Pavelich was played by Jack Blessing.

In the 2004 Disney film Miracle, he is portrayed by Chris Koch. Koch played junior hockey for the Delta Ice Hawks in his native Canada before concussions ended his career.[3]

Awards and achievements[edit]

Award Year
All-WCHA First Team 1978–79 [4]
AHCA West All-American 1978–79 [5]

Career statistics[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1976–77 Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs WCHA 37 12 7 19 8
1977–78 Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs WCHA 36 14 30 44 44
1978–79 Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs WCHA 37 31 48 79 52
1979–80 U.S. Olympic Team Intl 60 16 36 52 14
1981–82 New York Rangers NHL 79 33 43 76 67 6 1 5 6 0
1982–83 New York Rangers NHL 78 37 38 75 52 9 4 5 9 12
1983–84 New York Rangers NHL 77 29 53 82 96 5 2 4 6 0
1984–85 New York Rangers NHL 48 14 31 45 29 3 0 3 3 2
1985–86 New York Rangers NHL 59 20 20 40 82
1986–87 Minnesota North Stars NHL 12 4 6 10 10
1987–88 Bolzano HC Italy 36 31 42 73 19
1991–92 San Jose Sharks NHL 2 0 1 1 4
NHL totals 355 137 192 329 340 23 7 17 24 14


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Chris Koch biography at the Internet Movie Database
  4. ^ "WCHA All-Teams". College Hockey Historical Archives. Retrieved May 19, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Men's Ice Hockey Award Winners" (PDF). Retrieved June 11, 2013. 

External links[edit]