Marty Pavelich, instrumental in bringing skating rink to Big Sky, dies at 96

BIG SKY – Marty Pavelich, a Detroit hockey legend who won four Stanley Cup championships, was a member of the famous 1980 Team USA Hockey Olympic team before retiring to Montana to ski and fish, died late Thursday, June 27 at his Big Sky home. The second-oldest surviving National Hockey League player was 96. Pavelich, who was still skiing 100 days a year in his early 90s, had contracted amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, in May, per news reports.

Pavelich, a native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, who moved to Big Sky in 1993, was instrumental in bringing a seasonal skating rink large enough for hockey to the resort community. The rink was named for Pavelich in 2022. In February, the 13th annual Marty Pavelich Game was played on it. Before the rink was built, hockey was played on a flooded grass field with wooden planks.

“I’ve been here 30-some years in the northern part of our country and no hockey,” Pavelich told the Michigan newspaper chain Mlive when the rink was christened. “I called the local sportswriter, took him to lunch and said, ‘how about writing about hockey?’ and now we got two enclosed rinks in Bozeman and over 1,000 kids playing hockey and the same thing happened here. I thought we got to give these kids an opportunity.”

Article courtesy of 406 MT Sports

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