John Doe

If you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up.

Mary Taylor

You can have anything you want if you are willing to give up everything you have.

Wells, a St. Clair Shores native and 1980 Olympic hockey gold medalist, has died at the age of 66.

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Mark Wells, the last player added to the 1980 USA Hockey Team that became known as the famous “Miracle on Ice” gang at the Lake Placid Olympics, has died. He was 66 years old.

The Miracle on Ice team announced his death on Saturday on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The cause of death was not announced.

“He was more than just an Olympic champion,” Wales’ official Facebook page posted early Saturday afternoon. “He was a friend to everyone he met. He is simply a great man. Please allow his family and loved ones the privacy they deserve in this time of great grief.”

Wells grew up in St. Clair Shores and graduated from Lake Shore High School in 1975, before playing at Bowling Green from 1975-79, though he did not receive a scholarship until after his freshman season.

A standout forward, he was selected to Team USA prior to the Lake Placid Olympics, after tallying 83 points (26 goals) during his final season at Bowling Green.

He was small for his position, at just 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds, and Brooks considered others to round out Team USA, but Wells pressured Brooks and won the final spot. He won the final spot, unlike Brooks, the legendary coach who was the last player cut from the 1960 team that won the gold medal.

“I remember spitting at his feet and saying, ‘No, Herb, this is my dream,’” Wells, who was injured shortly before the 1980 Olympics, putting his spot on the roster in jeopardy, told the New York Times in a 2002 story. “I worked My ass for years let me have a chance.”

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He earned that shot, and was tasked with defending Valery Kharlamov, the Soviet Union’s best player, in the first game of medal play (at the time, the Olympics used a round-robin system to determine medal winners). The Soviet Union had won the previous four gold medals and five of the previous six, and were heavily favored in 1980, but the United States stunned the Giants by a score of 4-3. ABC sportscaster Al Michaels declared: “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!”

Team USA went on to win the gold medal two days later by defeating Finland.

Wales took three points (two goals) at the 1980 Olympics; The goals came against Norway and Romania in the preliminary round of the tournament.

Ken Morrow, a Michigan native, Wells teammate and roommate at Bowling Green, was also on the team.

“I heard about Mark being this great player in the Detroit area when I was playing in Flint,” Morrow said in an interview on OctoPulse, the Detroit News/Detroit Red Wings podcast. “We were teammates with the Detroit Junior Red Wings in 1974-75 and were drafted to Bowling Green that year. Coach Ron Mason (future Michigan State coach) was one of the best coaches I ever played for and Mark was one of the best scorers in the game.” College, he helped put Bowling Green on the hockey map.

“When Herb Brooks was looking for a checking center for the fourth line with Eric Stupel and Phil Verchuta, he went with the best skater and that was a big plus for Mark. This is a guy, the No. 1 center in college and everyone who’s suddenly asked to play a different role, you either adapt or No Play We ran four lines and our drills were geared to 45-second bouts.

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Wells was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens 176th overall in the 1977 NHL Draft, and played briefly in Montreal’s system before being traded to his hometown Red Wings. He declined the trade and was released from his contract and landed in the New York Rangers system. He never played in the NHL. Wells played briefly for Flint and Fort Wayne of the International Hockey League, Oklahoma City of the Central Hockey League, and Nova Scotia of the American Hockey League. His best minor league season was with New Haven of the AHL, when he had 43 points (19 goals) during 1980–81.

By 1983, Wells had quit hockey and returned to Michigan, where he began working in a restaurant. According to multiple reports, he suffered a bad back/spinal cord injury that left him with a lifetime of pain. This led to numerous surgeries and constant prescriptions for morphine, for which he eventually begged doctors to stop prescribing him.

“It makes you sleepy, tired, numb,” Wells told the New York Times. “I was in a fog.”

Wells even went 16 years without skating, even just before meeting the “Miracle on Ice” in 2002 – two years before the hit movie “Miracle” hit theaters, bringing a whole new generation to the team’s fan base. Wells participated briefly in an exhibition match in 2002, even having a shot on goal, despite fears from his old teammates that if he played, he would suffer serious injuries.

Wells spent most of his post-career playing at Michigan, Metro Detroit, and later North. Medical problems led to financial problems, which prompted him to sell his gold medal in 1980 for $40,000. In the end, the buyer sold that gold medal for more than $300,000.

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In 2014, the St. Clair Shores at Civic Ice Arena is named after Wells.

In 1992, he was inducted into the Bowling Green Athletics Hall of Fame.

“A sad day today for our 1980 Olympic team,” Mike Eruzione, captain of the “Miracle on Ice” team, wrote on Channel X on Saturday, saying that Wells died on Friday. “Great teammate, obviously a great hockey player and he will be missed.”

Funeral arrangements had not been announced as of Saturday evening.

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