Mark Wells, member of US Olympic ‘Miracle on Ice’ hockey team, dead at 66

Mark Wells

Mark Wells, a forward on the U.S. Olympic “Miracle on Ice” hockey team that won a gold medal at the 1980 Winter Olympics, died May 17. He was 66.

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Wells, a native of St. Clair Shores, Michigan, died in his sleep, the Macomb Daily reported. He had been scheduled to appear in St. Clair Shores Memorial Day Parade next week, according to the newspaper.

USA Hockey and Bowling Green State University, Wells’ college alma mater, also announced his death.

“It’s with profound sadness to announce the passing of Mark R. Wells. He was so much more than an Olympic hero or ‘The Commish,’” a post on Wells’ official Facebook page stated. “He was a friend to everyone he met. Simply a great man. Please allow his family and loved ones the privacy they deserve in this time of great sorrow.”

Wells played in all seven games for coach Herb Brooks’ U.S. hockey squad at the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics, scoring two goals and adding an assist, NBC Sports reported.

His goals came in a 5-1 victory against Norway and a 7-2 win against Romania in the preliminary round, according to

Wells played hockey at Bowling Green from 1975 to 1979, receiving a scholarship after his freshman season, according to a news release from the university.

Wells suffered a hairline fracture in his ankle four months before the Olympics and was the final player named to the roster, NBC Sports reported, citing Wayne Coffey’s 2005 book “The Boys of Winter: The Untold Story of a Coach, a Dream, and the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team.”

“I don’t care if you don’t score one goal,” Brooks told Wells, according to the book. “I need you to be my defensive center man. I need you to shut people down.”

Wells told The New York Times in a 2002 interview that he had to lobby Brooks to put him on the roster after he was injured.

“I remember spitting at his feet and saying, ‘No, Herb, this is my dream,’” Wells said. “I worked my butt off for years. Let me have a shot.”

Wells was selected 176th overall in the 1977 NHL Entry Draft by the Montreal Canadiens.

After the Olympics, he played nine games for Nova Scotia, Montreal’s American Hockey League affiliate, but was traded to the Detroit Red Wings, according to He was released after refusing to join the Red Wings and signed with the New York Rangers.

He never reached the NHL but played nine games with the Rangers’ AHL affiliate in New Haven, where he scored 14 goals and added 29 assists, reported.

Wells was inducted into the Bowling Green State University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1992.

In 2014, the St. Clair Shores City Council voted to rename a rink after him in the Civic Arena, the Macomb Daily reported.

Wells retired early due to severe back problems related to a rare spinal cord disease, according to He sold his Olympic gold medal more than a decade ago to help pay for medical expenses, according to the Macomb Daily.

Mike Eruzione, captain of the 1980 Olympic team, tweeted that it was a “sad day.”

“Number 15 Mark Wells passed away yesterday. Great teammate obviously a great hockey player and we will miss him.”

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