Roughly one month before the one-year anniversary of the game that saw Craig Cunningham collapse on the ice, beginning a hectic ordeal that brought his professional hockey career to a close, the courageous AHLer will have his number retired by his former club.
The Tuscon Roadrunners’ manager of digital operations, Alexander Kinkopf, tweeted out the good news:
Cunningham suffered cardiac arrest on Nov. 19 of last year, collapsing on the ice before a game against the Manitoba Moose. Given CPR and rushed to Tuscon’s Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital, Cunningham was then transferred to the Banner – University Medical Center to receive advanced oxygenation therapy reserved only for the most dire of cardiac cases, according to Coyotes beat writer Craig Morgan.
The procedure allowed Cunningham’s heart to recover. However, circulation issues forced doctors to amputate part of his left leg, ending his professional hockey career.
But the Trail, B.C., native inspired the hockey world with his indomitable will, returning to the ice just four months later, all smiles.
The Coyotes ensured Cunningham’s hockey career didn’t come to a full stop, however, signing the 2010 fourth-round pick to a two-year deal as a pro scout.
There’s no question Cunningham’s story is one the Coyotes faithful will be telling for quite a while, but the 26-year-old can now rest assured he’ll go down in the organization’s history as his No. 14 is headed to the rafters in October.