Former New York Rangers center Mark Pavelich of Eveleth, MN has passed away at the age of 63 according to nhl.com. No cause of death was given at this time. Pavelich played seven seasons in the National Hockey League from 1981 to 1987, and again from 1991 to 1992 with the Rangers, Minnesota North Stars, and San Jose Sharks. He was with the Rangers from 1981 to 1986, the North Stars from 1986 to 1987, and the Sharks from 1991 to 1992.
In 355 games, Pavelich had 137 goals and 192 assists for 329 points. He had 340 penalty minutes, 104 power-play points, seven shorthanded points, 17 game-winning goals, and 714 shots on goal.
Pavelich had two career NHL hat tricks. He scored thrice in a 7-3 Rangers win over the New York Islanders on November 21, 1982, and scored five goals in an 11-3 Rangers hammering over the Hartford Whalers on February 23, 1983. Pavelich is the only American-born player in National Hockey League history with five goals in a single game.
Pavelich is one of only three Rangers players to score five goals in a single game. The others are Don Murdoch of Cranbrook, British Columbia, who achieved the feat on October 12, 1976, in a 10-4 Rangers win over the North Stars and Mika Zibanejad of Huddinge, Sweden, who achieved the feat on March 5, 2020 in a 6-5 Rangers win over the Washington Capitals. Murdoch became only the second rookie to score five goals in one game. The first was Howie Meeker of the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 10-4 Maple Leafs romp over the Chicago Black Hawks on January 8, 1947. Zibanejad meanwhile was the last NHL player to score five goals in a game.
Pavelich’s best NHL season came in 1983-84. That year he had a career-high 82 points and led the Rangers in scoring.
One could argue that Pavelich earned his most fame in international hockey. That is because he was part of the American team that won the gold medal in men’s hockey at the 1980 Olympic Games in Lake Placid. He had one goal and six assists for seven points. A product of the University of Minnesota-Duluth, Pavelich also played professional hockey in Switzerland, Great Britain, and Italy.