A Minnesota judge has taken the advice of mental health professionals and ruled that Mark Pavelich, a key member of the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" U.S. Olympic hockey team, be committed to a secure treatment facility because he is mentally ill and dangerous.
Pavelich was charged with assault after being accused of using a metal bar to attack a fishing buddy in August that left the victim with "observable injuries and an obvious disfigurement of his leg," a criminal complaint said.
District Judge Michael Cuzzo, who ruled in October that Pavelich was unfit to stand trial, announced this week that mental health professionals have found the 61-year-old to be suffering from delusions and paranoia, in addition to finding that he suffers from a neurocognitive disorder linked to traumatic brain injury, the Duluth News Tribune reports.
"As a result of (Pavelich's) mental illness, he presents a clear danger to the safety of others and has engaged in an overt act causing or attempting to cause serious physical harm to another," the judge wrote in the order. "There is a substantial likelihood that he will engage in acts capable of inflicting physical harm on another in the future."
The former hockey star's sister told the Star Tribune that she's convinced Pavelich is suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, more commonly known as CTE, the neurodegenerative brain disease caused by repeated head injuries.
The assault happened Aug. 15 in rural Lutsen after Pavelich thought his fishing partner spiked his beer, according to the criminal complaint. The victim was taken to a hospital in Grand Marais with marks and bruising on his arms and legs, two cracked ribs, a fractured vertebrae, bruised left kidney and possible internal bleeding.
Pavelich was a hockey standout at Eveleth High School in northern Minnesota before becoming an All-American forward with the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. After his success in the Olympics he went on to score 137 goals during an NHL career with the New York Rangers, Minnesota North Stars and San Jose Sharks.