Former 1980 Olympic ‘Miracle’ Star’s Dream Becomes Reality, Thanks To Teammates
Mark Pavelich is credited with getting some of the big assists during the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid, including setting up the game-winning goal to Mike Eruzione to beat the U.S.S.R in the “Miracle on Ice” game.
Now his former teammates, friends and family are working to assist those off the ice that are struggling with mental health by opening The Ranch in Sauk Centre.
“It’s been hard because I miss him; he should be here,” said Jean Pavelich Gevik, Mark’s Sister.
Pavelich Gevick says later in life, her brother battled anxiety, mental illness, and the effects of multiple traumatic brain injuries.
Before Pavelich died by suicide in 2021 — he asked loved ones to build The Ranch.
“Athletes have been struggling in silence,” Pavelich Gevick said. “I’ve been already getting calls from athletes’ families; we’re able to help them.”
After years of planning and work, on Sunday afternoon, a ribbon cutting took place for The Ranch in Sauk Centre.
It’s a place where those in need of mental health care can stay, receive counseling, and take part in various therapies like interacting with horses.
“He wanted to help and give people hope,” said Ronn Tomassoni, who first met Pavelich on their youth hockey team in Eveleth on the Iron Range.
The two remained friends as they both went off to play college hockey and the years that followed.
Pavelich continued to play hockey in the NHL, setting a scoring record for most goals in a game and playing for several teams, including the Minnesota North Stars.
Tomassoni is one of many former hockey teammates that have helped fundraise to build The Ranch in central Minnesota.
“It’s all about love and helping each other,” Tomassoni said.
“If you got to know ‘Pav’ he was a tremendous individual, we miss him a ton,” said former teammate Bill Baker.
Baker got to know Pavelich quite well as a teammate on the 1980 Olympic Gold medal team.
“If you ever wanted your confidence to be shaken up, all you had to do was play ‘keep away’ with him after practice he was unbelievable,” Baker said about Pavelich.
Baker, along with other ‘Miracle’ teammates, came to support The Ranch at the grand opening.
“Once you are on a team, your teammates for life, especially in a situation like this, with what’s happened to him,” Baker said.
Teammates for Life is the motto of The Ranch.
“I can’t believe how much compassion there is, how much generosity there is; we’ve had so many people reaching out,” said Pavelich Gevik.
The Ranch is where Pavelich’s loved ones hope more miracles are made by helping others who are struggling.
“Hopefully, if we can help somebody else, it would mean so much to him; that’s what he wanted,” Pavelich Gevik said.
If you’d like to learn more about The Ranch, click here.