Mark Pavelich Rememberance Golf Scramble

BIWABIK, Minn.– Today at Giants Ridge Golf Course in Biwabik Minnesota, members of Minnesota college hockey teams, current and former NHL players, and teammates of the 1980 Olympic gold medal team came together in memory of Mark Pavelich, who passed earlier this year after a battle to mental illness.

“Mark was just a special guy, and he was a great hockey player, saw that at a very young age, and just a wonderful wonderful guy,” Jim Rossi, Pavelich’s Youth Hockey Coach, and friend, said.

Mark Pavelich took his life on March 4th of 2021 after dealing with a mental illness that stemmed from a collision to the head in his hockey-playing career.

Today Jim Rossi and hundreds of others from Minnesota and beyond gathered in honor and memory of him.

“Everybody loved Mark, I’ve never met somebody who had a bad thing to say about him, it says a lot about his character and what he was all about,” Guy LeBlanc, an Event Organizer said.

Mark was passionate about helping start The Ranch, which are facilities that help war veterans and athletes who are facing hurdles with mental illness.

Monday’s event brought The Ranch and hockey community together to have conversations about mental health

“This is going to also help a lot of other people who need it, and I hope it continues and I hope they continue to have fundraisers because there are so many others who need this,” Rossi said.

For a former UMD hockey player, who is now a Boston Bruin, it is important to spread this message, and he especially hopes kids and teens hear it.

“It’s definitely a pro and con, you put a lot of pressure on yourself to succeed at a very high level and that can be very stressful especially on your mental toughness as well, so I think it’s great that stuff like this is bringing to awareness and hopefully kids even at that young age can kind of talk about how they’re doing,” Karson Kaufman said.

Former 1980 Olympic teammate and friend of Marks says the event offers a little closure after his death and shows how tight-knit and supportive the hockey community is.

“Hockey’s kind of a different fraternity, people don’t forget, and they won’t forget about you, you might think they will but they won’t, and just have some pretty good friends for what you go through throughout the years as a team they just they will be, teammates for life and that proves it here today,” Bill Baker said.

On Monday, it was announced that Mark Pavelich will be inducted into the Croatian American Sports Hall of Fame in 2022.

“He would tell you today that he wasn’t playing the game for that kind of stuff, he was playing because he loved it, absolutely loved it,” Baker said.

With a silent auction, a gathering of former friends and teammates, and speakers on mental illness, today’s event is sure to resonate and hopefully encourage more to seek the help needed.

The proceeds from this event will go towards Mark Pavelich’s alma maters, UMD and Bethel Youth Hockey, and The Ranch as well.

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