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Former Ranger, ‘Miracle on Ice’ member Pavelich ruled mentally ill, dangerous

One month after he was found unfit to stand trial, former NHLer and 1980 U.S. Olympic team member Mark Pavelich was ordered to be committed to a secure treatment facility. One psychologist suggested Pavelich's condition was the result of head injuries.

Little more than one month after former New York Rangers center Mark Pavelich was found incompetent to stand trial, a Minnesota judge has ruled the 61-year-old mentally ill and dangerous.

According to the Star-Tribune, a judge has ordered that Pavelich be committed to a secure treatment facility. Another hearing will be held in February to determine whether he will remain in the facility indefinitely.

Pavelich, who played a vital role in the United States’ ‘Miracle on Ice’ at the 1980 Olympics, was facing criminal charges earlier this year following an alleged August incident in which he injured a friend, James T. Miller, with a metal pole, leaving the 63-year-old with “cracked ribs, a bruised kidney and a fracture to one of his vertebrae,” according to the Star-Tribune.

In the lead-up to the October hearing at which his case was suspended, Pavelich twice met with psychologists to determine whether he was fit to stand trial. It was determined that Pavelich was “likely suffering from post traumatic stress disorder with delayed expression and secondary psychotic features, as well as unspecified neurocognitive disorder,” and, according to the Duluth News Tribune, Dr. Chris Bowerman recommended that Pavelich be committed for treatment. Bowerman believed Pavelich was in need of “psychiatric treatment with neuroleptic medications.” After the case against Pavelich was suspended, authorities petitioned to have him committed for treatment.

The Star-Tribune reported Thursday that Jacqueline Buffington, who was one of two psychologists to examine Pavelich, stated the former NHLer suffers from “mild neurocognitive disorder due to traumatic brain injury with behavioral disturbance (psychotic symptoms, aggression).” In a court order obtained by the Star-Tribune, Buffington suggested that head injuries suffered by Pavelich were the likely cause of his condition.

Pavelich, who played five seasons with the Rangers, also spent time with the Minnesota North Stars and San Jose Sharks. He scored 137 goals and 329 points in 355 career NHL games. His playing career ended following the 1991-92 season.

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