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Mark Wells, Miracle on Ice Olympic hockey gold medalist, dies at 66

Mark Wells
Mark Wells

Mark Wells, a forward on the 1980 U.S. Olympic champion men's hockey team, has died at age 66, according to USA Hockey and Bowling Green State University, his alma mater.

"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,'" was posted on Wells’ official Facebook page. "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."

USA Hockey posted, "A stick salute to Mark Wells, who helped the U.S. win gold at the 1980 Olympic Winter Games. The Detroit native passed away this weekend, and our heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends. His impact on our sport will continue to be felt for generations to come."

Mike Eruzione, captain of the 1980 team known for the Miracle on Ice win over the Soviet Union, tweeted, "Sad day today for our 1980 Olympic team. number 15 Mark Wells passed away yesterday. Great teammate obviously a great hockey player and we will miss him."

Wells played in all seven games at the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Games, scoring two goals and adding an assist.

He was the center on the fourth line for head coach Herb Brooks, according to the book "The Boys of Winter" on the team.

Wells suffered a hairline fracture in his ankle four months before the Olympics and was the final player named to the roster, according to the book.

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