The "Miracle on Ice" doctor for Team USA's 1980 gold-medal-winning hockey team was mugged over the weekend at his wife's grave site in north Minneapolis, leaving the 93-year-old man bleeding and a bit woozy from blows to the head inflicted by a teenager wielding a windshield snowbrush.
The attack on George Nagobads, of Edina, occurred about 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the Crystal Lake Cemetery on Dowling Avenue, between Humboldt and Penn avenues, police said.
The mugger got away on a bicycle, despite being pursued by a man on a bike who was out for a ride in his neighborhood.
Nagobads, recovering at home, said Tuesday that he sped to nearby North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, where he received 18 stitches to close two gashes to his head. He said he also suffered a slight concussion and was kept overnight for observation.
"I brought new flowers and was just stooping down" next to the grave of Velta Nagobads (she died in 2005) at the moment of the assault with the hard-plastic snowbrush, Nagobads said.
"I'm so lucky. … I used that little trick and threw the wallet to get to my car" about 40 yards away, he said.
As the boy picked up the wallet, Nagobads continued, "I was running … really fast. I was surprised how I could run like this."
Once behind the wheel and "bleeding really heavy," Nagobads said, "I drove way over the speed limit. If a cop catches me, that's fine."
Nagobads' wallet was recovered later that day and taken by police as evidence.
While riding by, Justin McCarthy said he saw Nagobads sitting in his car and bleeding, then "I saw the kid there. I put two and two together, and I just got really mad."
McCarthy said he rode off after the boy, who appeared to be about 14 or 15. McCarthy kept up the chase for 200 to 300 yards, but, "I'm 52 and I'm kind of fat. It wasn't going to happen. … I was completely exhausted."
When McCarthy returned to the scene Nagobads told him, "I gave him my wallet, and he still tried to kill me."
Nagobads was the University of Minnesota men's hockey team physician for 34 years until 1992, many of those years while Herb Brooks was coaching the Gophers to three NCAA championships in the 1970s.
The doctor also worked for the NHL's Minnesota North Stars in the late 1980s and early 1990s and the WHA's Minnesota Fighting Saints.
During his quarter-century with USA hockey, he was the team doctor for the famous "Miracle on Ice" team that defeated the legendary Soviet team and went on to win Olympic gold in 1980.
Nagobads' legacy was etched in Hollywood lore in the 2004 movie "Miracle," which documented USA's improbable gold medal run in Lake Placid.