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Oct. 6, 1981 (Rangers vs. Detroit Red Wings)
FINAL GAME WITH RANGERS
March 5, 1986 (Rangers at Winnipeg Jets)
RANGERS TEAM AWARDS
Rangers MVP — 1982-83
Players` Player Award — 1981-82 (co-winner)
Boucher Trophy (Most Popular) — 1982-83
Most goals in one game — 5 vs. Hartford on Feb. 23, 1983 (shares record with Don Murdoch)
RANGERS TEAM LEADER
Most points — 1983-84
Most goals — 1982-83
Most assists — 1983-84
Most playoff points — 1984
Most playoff assists — 1984 (tie)
RANGERS ORGANIZATION STATISTICS
Minor-league games: 0
Minor-league teams: None
Nicknames: Weber, Pav
Uniform Numbers: 40, 16
Retired from pro hockey: 1989 (brief comeback attempt in 1991)
One of the most unlikely stars in Rangers history, 5-foot-8 center Mark Pavelich overcame the odds against a player of his size to become the Rangers` MVP in 1982-83 and the team`s leading scorer the following season.
Despite starring at the University of Minnesota at Duluth in the late 1970s, Pavelich was not drafted by an NHL team. He instead turned to the U.S. Olympic program following his final college season and ended up being a key member of the "Miracle on Ice" squad that stunned the Soviets and captured a gold medal at Lake Placid, N.Y., in 1980.
Even Olympic success was not enough to immediately earn Pavelich an NHL contract. He spent the 1980-81 season playing in Switzerland, where he scored 73 points in 60 games. His continued success in Europe convinced Rangers head coach Herb Brooks, who had coached him on the Olympic team, to bring Pavelich to the NHL for the 1981-82 season.
Brooks` Rangers were perfectly suited to Pavelich`s game, and the 23-year-old responded with a phenomenal 76-point rookie year that saw him set team records (since broken) for assists and points as well as tie the legendary Bill Cook`s record of 33 goals by a rookie.
Pavelich continued to put up big numbers in both 1982-83. He scored 37 goals that season, including a career night on Feb. 23, 1983, when he burned the Hartford Whalers for five goals. The five tallies tied Don Murdoch`s team record for goals in one game and also made Pavelich the only Rangers player ever to score five goals in a game at Madison Square Garden.
In 1983-84, Pavelich came up just shy of the 30-goal mark but notched a career-high 82 points. He led the team in scoring in what would prove to be his last full season. In both 1984-85 and 1985-86, Pavelich was hampered by injuries and dropped under 50 points both years.
Pavelich left the Blueshirts in an October 1986 trade to Minnesota, but he left behind a remarkable five-season run that proved that the size of a player`s heart is always more important than the size of his body.
º Rangers MVP Winners
º Players` Player Award Winners
º Boucher Trophy Winners
º Rangers Single-Season Leaders