After Winning At Lake Placid, Diminutive Center Starred With Rangers For 5 Seasons

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mark Pavelich has perspective.

The man who assisted on Mike Eruzione’s game-winning goal against the Russians at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics has parlayed his gold medal from those Games into $262,900, a nice nest egg, he said, to help his daughter “get a step forward in life.”

“You can’t say that you never (won) a medal just because you don’t have it anymore,” Pavelich told Yahoo! Sports’ Puck Daddy Blog last month. “You always can say that you got it.”

Pavelich is right. For the test of time he will be known as the player who assisted on Eruzione’s eventual winning goal with 10 minutes to play in the semifinals of a game that ended up becoming the greatest single upset in Olympic team sports history.  The U.S., not even picked to medal by the experts, went on to beat Finland for the gold.

Pavelich finished with a goal and seven points in the Americans’ seven games in the tournament.

The sale of Pavelich’s medal was handled by Heritage Auctions, the same company that helped fellow 1980 American hockey player Mark Wells turn his medal into $310,700 back in 2010. Pavelich also gave his nephews the jerseys he wore during the tournament. One was sold for $130,000, Puck Daddy reported.

“The only thing is you’re limited to what you can do with these things,” Pavelich said, referring to his logic for getting rid of his Team USA memorabilia. “You keep it in a vault in the bank somewhere and you take it out once in a while and you look at it and you put it back in. You can’t put them in a house because it could burn or get stolen and it’s just gone and useless. It’s just an impractical thing.”

Pavelich, now 56, had 129 goals and 178 assists for the Rangers during a five-season run from 1981-86. A 5-foot-8, 170-pound center during his playing days, Pavelich had a career-high 37 goals in 1982-83 and 82 points in 1983-84.

He told Puck Daddy he has no intention of parting with any of his Rangers mementos.

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