In 2016, Craig Cunningham’s life took a sharp turn when he collapsed on the ice before an American Hockey League game between his team, Tucson Roadrunners and Manitoba Moose at the Tucson Convention Center. The former Boston Bruin’ player barely survived the ordeal that saw him fall into cardiac arrest.
After several days of fighting for his life, doctors had to amputate part of his left leg in December because blood clots were cutting off circulation to his foot and toes due to complications from surgery after his collapse.
“When I did wake up post-surgery, it was definitely difficult seeing my limb missing, “
Cunningham said who admitted feeling down about losing part of himself but also felt grateful for still being alive.”I can’t say enough about how thankful I am.”
But despite having undergone such an operation, Cunningham began training for the Spartan Race only two months later as he aimed to raise money for Arizona’s Banner Children’s Hospital.
What else has happened since then?
Craig Cunningham was a promising hockey player who started his career with the Vancouver Giants. He was picked in the third round of the 2010 NHL draft by the Boston Bruins, and he quickly became known for his hard-working attitude on and off the ice.
Cunningham played 63 games for the Providence Bruins during the 2014-15 season, where he served as an alternate captain. However, it wasn’t until November 20th, 2015 that Cunningham’s life changed forever.
“We received word that tonight’s game needed to be postponed due to a medical emergency involving Craig Cunningham.” – Tucson Roadrunners President Bob Hoffman
During pregame warmups before a minor league hockey game between the Tucson Roadrunners and Manitoba Moose, Cunningham suddenly collapsed on the ice. He went into cardiac arrest and had to be rushed to Banner – University Medical Center Tucson for treatment.
“He has significant leg trauma from immobility. . . On top of that, Ken was having trouble oxygenating him when they first brought him around here. ” – Dr. Zain Khalpey, Clinical Professor of Surgery at UA College of Medicine-Tucson
The doctors discovered that one of his arteries had been completely blocked which caused blood flow issues throughout his body resulting in significant tissue damage in several areas including loss muscle mass over time ultimately ending up needing amputation below left knee.
The incident sparked an outpouring of support from fans and players across all levels of hockey, with many sending their well wishes and hoping for Craig’s speedy recovery.
While it appeared initially that there might have been a faint glimmer of hope that he would eventually make progress towards playing again. In reality though (and unfortunately), this never truly came to fruition; partly due to the severity of his injuries and partly because he had lost too much muscle mass.
The hockey community can only continue sending their thoughts, prayers and best wishes for Craig’s recovery and a successfully adapted life transitioning outside of the sport.
From the Ice to the Bench
Craig Cunningham was a professional hockey player, born in Trail, British Columbia. He had dedicated his life to this game and achieved remarkable milestones throughout his career until something dreadful happened on November 19th, 2016.
Cunningham collapsed moments before the start of an AHL game against Manitoba Moose. The paramedics rushed him to the hospital where doctors discovered that he suffered from cardiac arrest. After fighting for survival inside the ICU ward, they were ultimately unable to save his left leg from being amputated below the knee due to poor circulation.
The hockey world was in shock, but his perseverance never faded away even during tough times. During an interview with Sportsnet TV network about overcoming depression after retiring from sports because of medical reasons:
I thank god every day for taking me out of hockey when I did because everything happens for a reason.
This quote manifested that Craig didn’t give up hope despite all odds stacked against him which demonstrates how resilient humans can be once challenged by circumstances beyond their control.
He retired from playing professional hockey but remained connected to it as a member of Tucson Roadrunners’ coaching staff since November 2017. The head coach Jay Varady expressed:
Having been a part of Craig’s recovery journey over these last few years has been nothing short of inspirational. . . we are thrilled to have him continue around our team and impacting our players through this new role.
If someone gets knocked down several times and manages to get back onto their feet again each time only represents one virtuous aspect of human nature: resilience coupled with inspiration and motivation, encouraging others who may face similar challenges not too long ago!
In November 2016, Craig Cunningham – then an AHL player with the Tucson Roadrunners – collapsed on the ice just before a game. He had suffered cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated by medical staff at the arena.
Cunningham was rushed to hospital where he underwent emergency surgery to remove his left leg due to complications resulting from lack of oxygen. The operation was successful but it ended Craig’s professional hockey career.
“The most important thing is my health, ” Cunningham said in a statement after the incident.”I feel fortunate to be surrounded by the incredible support of my family, friends, teammates and the entire Arizona Coyotes organization.”
The hockey world rallied around Craig Cunningham, raising money for his medical bills and sending messages of support via social media. Despite facing life-altering change, he remained positive throughout.
Since retiring as a player, Craig has become involved in coaching and speaking engagements. His resilience and determination have inspired many both within hockey circles and beyond.
“Craig epitomizes everything you look for in a leader, ” Steve Sullivan (then assistant general manager for Arizona) told NHL. com.”His tenacity for life, passionate attitude toward daily living.”
Craig continues to make progress in his recovery today.
A Heart-Stopping Moment
On November 19, 2016, Craig Cunningham’s life changed forever. The former NHL player suffered a cardiac arrest on the ice just before the start of an AHL game where he was playing for Tucson Roadrunners.
The incident resulted in an emergency resuscitation by paramedics who performed CPR and shocking his heart that saved his life. This event left him hospitalized with extensive damage to his body due to prolonged lack of oxygen supply to vital organs such as brain and muscles.
“I’ve got a vivid memory from when I woke up because they wouldn’t allow my family into my room until all the tubes were out of me, ” Cunningham told TSN.”As soon as they walked in, we all started balling.”
Cunningham spent months recovering after numerous surgeries, including amputation of part of one leg which became necrotic while he was bedridden during his hospitalization period. However, miraculously he recovered from this devastating health challenge; yet it became apparent that returning to professional hockey wasn’t going to be feasible anymore.
After retirement from professional hockey as a player, facing challenges taking even few steps without crutches necessitated another surgery to use prosthetic legs permanently. As heavy lifting or excessive physical activity is now off-limits for him due to medical reasons. In recent years though complicated adjustments had been made so that he can return on-ice assisting duties for Arizona Coyotes organization again favorably executing assistant-to-the-general-manager role.
“You think you’re invincible” admitted Cunningham speaking about growing up playing sports professionally since youth across Saskatchewan/Alberta area & notably winning Memorial Cup championship in Vancouver Giant roster led by Milan Lucic ten years ago.”That optimism kind of gets taken away pretty quickly”.
Raising awareness about sudden cardiac arrest risk faced by professional players becomes a greater responsibility everyone should shoulder. Professional hockey careers don’t have warnings, and incidents could happen to anyone unexpectedly regardless of age or health condition – so that provides the importance for increasing medical checkups and preventative measures implementation.
Craig Cunningham’s resilience through his journey is extremely inspiring and something we all can learn from—the need for strength when facing adversity, take things one step at a time despite setbacks, be grateful for every opportunity provided & be aware of risks in our daily life.
When Life Throws a Curveball
Life is full of unexpected events that can turn everything around in an instant. One moment you could be on top of the world, and the next moment, you find yourself struggling to make sense of what just happened. That’s exactly what happened to Craig Cunningham, a former professional ice hockey player.
In November 2016, while playing for the Tucson Roadrunners, the AHL affiliate team of the Arizona Coyotes, Craig Cunningham collapsed on the ice before a game due to cardiac arrest. He was rushed to the hospital where he underwent emergency surgery but suffered significant organ damage resulting in his leg being amputated below the knee.
“I remember thinking I might die that day, ” said Cunningham during an interview with ESPN after recovering from his surgery.”It’s amazing how when faced with life or death moments your perception changes so quickly.”
Cunningham’s dream since childhood had been to become an NHL player and he had worked hard towards achieving this goal every single day. However, following his diagnosis, it seemed all hope was lost as he faced not only losing any chance at pursuing his dreams but also his everyday freedoms and mobility without his leg.
But despite these challenges facing him head-on, Craig refused to give up hope and instead turned to focus on adapting himself mentally and physically for his new reality alongside support from friends and family who would later go on to create The Give A Shift charity foundation dedicated to raising funds for players who suffer career-ending injuries.
“Don’t let one setback define you, ” says Cunningham when asked about how he approached adversity throughout these difficult years following his injury.”You never know what opportunities are waiting ahead if you keep pushing forward.”
Craig’s incredible willpower sparked movements such as “Cunny Can” — named after him– in honor of his resilience and powerful attitude towards life. This message can be interpreted by anyone facing challenges as a reminder that no matter what comes our way, we have the power to overcome it if we simply stay focused on moving forward
In conclusion, Craig’s story is a testament to how one’s mentality can shape and determine the outcome of any obstacle faced despite overwhelming adversity and how pushing through not only creates opportunities for ourselves but inspires others around us.
The Road to Recovery
In November 2016, Craig Cunningham was a professional hockey player for the Tucson Roadrunners who nearly lost his life after suffering cardiac arrest on the ice. He survived but had both legs amputated below the knees. This event not only caught many people’s attention, but it also inspired them to look into how he has been doing since that fateful day.
“There are things worse than hockey.”
After being in critical condition for quite some time, Craig finally went through rehabilitation and got prosthetic legs attached. However, from what we know about those attending NHL training camp events with him in Arizona at Gila River Arena:
“I have so much respect for him.” “I think it’s amazing just where he is today.” “For him to push forward like this – I don’t even understand it, ” “It puts everything in perspective.”
Craig still has exceptional strength and dedication to proving there is more out of life then just playing sports professionally. His story serves as an inspiration not only to athletes struggling with adversity worldwide; however, particularly someone stuck throughout cardiovascular disease or any other serious health issues could be motivated by the way he handled himself during these challenging times.
Additionally, because of his injury, Craig produced new possibilities outside hockey league management as undisturbed sportswear CEO John Lusher launched `Stay The Course Hockey. ` As part-owner of this Florida-based organization focusing solely on high-quality custom-made jerseys for amateurs & pros’ would recommend according to experts reporting viability across North America due partly towards advanced manufacturing equipment-with excellent costs tied directly linked back again benefiting client satisfaction rates! With intensive groundwork done following several concurrent years up building relationships amongst key stakeholders within this niche industry market place, Stay The Course Hockey succeeded where others failed!
In conclusion, Craig Cunningham’s story teaches us that life can sometimes throw unexpected challenges our way. However, with strength and determination, we too can overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. It is an inspiration both on and off the ice – a shining example of how to live life to the fullest.
Small Steps to Big Wins
In November 2016, Craig Cunningham had a cardiac arrest on the ice before an AHL game between the Tucson Roadrunners and Manitoba Moose. He was taken to hospital where he went into surgery that resulted in part of his left leg being amputated due to complications resulting from lack of blood flow.
Craig began rehabilitating and adjusting to life with one leg. His drive, determination and positive attitude made him an inspiration for many people going through tough times. However, this wasn’t always easy for him.
“It’s important every day to try and take small steps forward. . . it eventually leads you to big wins.”
Craig mentioned this during his appearance at the NHL Awards Show in June 2017. It is such powerful advice applicable beyond just hockey or sports but can be used in all aspects of life, especially when dealing with a major setback like what happened to Craig.
He didn’t focus on everything that had gone wrong but rather looked ahead towards progress. Every little step counted as it took him closer to achieving success once again. A typical week included learning how to walk with a prosthetic, developing upper-body strength doing push-ups and dog sled exercises amongst other activities.
“If I could inspire somebody out there in any way possible by telling them my story along the way, ”
Craig shares about his desire and purpose now; inspiring others through overcoming adversity.
Beyond helping others face challenges similar to his own story: “Focusing on something else helped me, ” he said.”
“I decided I wanted my sport management degree early.”
This was another quote given during a CBS interview earlier this year. This guy never stops! Focused moves are what seem so impactful with Craig’s story. Instead of thinking about hockey and what was taken from him or how his life has changed, he immediately turns towards progress again.
Craig Cunningham is not a former athlete but still an inspiration for athletes who have faced setbacks in their career; perhaps due to injury on the court or field causing them to miss some games/matches they would rather forget. Their own game may be put into focus as Craig’s positive attitude gives hope and belief that all things are possible through effort and determination no matter where you start off from!
Never Giving Up on the Dream
Craig Cunningham was a promising hockey player with his eyes set on achieving great heights in the sport. Born and raised in Trail, British Columbia, Craig developed his love for hockey at an early age and worked hard to make it as a professional. He got drafted by the Boston Bruins in 2010 after playing for four years with WHL’s Vancouver Giants.
Craig had spent most of his career in minors while waiting for that big break. However, fate dealt him a cruel blow when he suffered from cardiac arrest after warming up before an NHL game between Tucson Roadrunners and Manitoba Moose on November 19, 2016. Doctors were able to revive him but not without significant neurological damage.
“I couldn’t give anything less than everything I have.” -Craig Cunningham
The incident forced Craig into retirement as an athlete, but it didn’t take away his fighting spirit or determination to be involved in hockey somehow. A stint as a scout for Arizona Coyotes followed soon after where he enjoyed success spotting young talent who would go on to make it big in NHL.
However, Craig had bigger plans than just being satisfied with scouting players. He wanted to coach someday, and he wasn’t going to let what happened defeat him. In August 2021, he was appointed as assistant coach for Colorado Eagles – AHL affiliate team of Colorado Avalanches.
“It feels amazing; this is something I’ve been working towards ever since my playing days ended, ” said Cunningham about his appointment.”
In becoming an assistant coach with Colorado Eagles, Craig has achieved much more than anyone deemed possible given his traumatic injury some five years ago. It is truly inspirational how despite facing so much adversity both physically and mentally – he never gave up on the dream.
The Importance of Support
Craig Cunningham, a Canadian ice hockey player from Trail, British Columbia, suffered from an array of unprecedented health issues during the Tucson Roadrunners’ American Hockey League game against the Manitoba Moose in November 2016. The elite-level athlete was experiencing a heart attack and collapsed on the bench before being transported to Banner-University Medical Center for urgent medical attention.
Support from teammates and fans became paramount after news relating to Cunningham’s tragic career-ending event spread across many newspapers worldwide in just one night. Along with numerous messages sent by admirers through social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, his family appreciated that he had enjoyed tremendous support from behind-the-scenes individuals who poured prayers their way.
“Never underestimate the power of love and prayer! #CunnyCan, ” – Craig’s younger brother, Ryan.
In early December 2020, it was revealed that not only did Cunningham suffer cardiac arrest five years ago but also experienced hallucinations due to liver failure at the same time. He underwent emergency surgery followed by several months of physical therapy while never playing professional ice hockey again.
The former captain of Arizona Coyotes’ affiliate eventually healed technically in terms of status quo mechanisms required for basic survival needs through equipment installed within him. Furthermore, his mental fortitude flourished with immense help from his close ones who rallied around him consistently when down or feeling despairing every single day since then.
“It takes great strength & courage to finally admit things need fixing, ” said Jeff Glassman, Certified Professional Recovery Coach & Addiction Advocate.
To summarize everything discussed above mentioned bearing testament to how crucial support is for human beings regardless if there are athletes/accolades alike associated with them or not. When supported adequately via people they trust and respect bringing them peace of mind will help lift their mood/motivation to rebuild a better tomorrow regardless of what happened in the past.
Life After Hockey
Craig Cunningham is a former professional ice hockey player who played for various NHL teams, including the Boston Bruins and Arizona Coyotes. However, in 2016, his career was cut short due to a sudden cardiac arrest that occurred during warmups before an AHL game.
“I remember being on the ice, then waking up in the hospital four days later” – Craig Cunningham
The incident left him with severe brain damage and resulted in doctors amputating part of his leg due to infections caused by catheters used to treat him while he was hospitalized.
Despite facing such adversities, Cunningham has remained optimistic and determined. He founded “All Heart Foundation, ” which aims to support similar patients and their families experiencing traumatic events or life-altering illnesses.
“Every second counts when something goes wrong; my foundation focuses on providing financial help quickly so they can concentrate on recovering.” – Craig Cunningham
In addition to operating All Heart Foundation, Cunningham began pursuing higher education at the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management where he aspires to obtain an MBA.
Moreover, he joined the Arizona Coyotes team’s front office staff as a pro scout following his retirement from playing professionally. In this role, he helps evaluate talent among young prospects- spotting those who exhibit courage and heart both off-and-on-the-ice like himself.
“The condition stole one dream from me but gave me another through scouting. I’m grateful for every moment spent near it (the rink) than away from it!” – Craig Cunningham
Cunningham also continues advocating for CPR training awareness among sports organizations and broader communities alike by insisting each locker room have fully equipped first aid kits along with Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs).
Cunningham’s sudden cardiac arrest during warm-ups shocked the entire hockey community and, in his road to recovery, he has taught many athletes lessons of perseverance, courage and humility.
Lessons Learned Outside the Rink
What happened to Craig Cunningham, a professional hockey player who collapsed on the ice before a game in 2016 and later had to have part of his leg amputated due to an infection? His story teaches us that life can throw unexpected curveballs at any moment, even when we think we are invincible.
“It’s not just about winning or losing but also how you play the game.”
This famous quote by Grantland Rice applies perfectly to Cunningham’s situation. Although he may never play hockey professionally again, he has continued to stay involved with the sport as an assistant coach for the Tucson Roadrunners. He exemplifies sportsmanship and resilience, showing us that there is more value in playing with heart than simply focusing on the end result.
Cunningham’s experience also highlights the importance of taking care of oneself both physically and mentally. Being a devoted athlete from a young age trained him to push through physical pain, but it was ultimately an unchecked infection that caused his near-fatal health scare. This serves as a reminder that listening to our bodies and seeking medical attention when something feels off should always be a priority.
“We learn so much from our failures than we do from success.”
The above quote by author David Smooke resonates deeply with Cunningham’s journey. While his path has taken an unexpected turn, he hasn’t let it define him or hold him back. Instead, he uses his platform to inspire others and raises awareness for organ donation – another cause close to his heart after receiving a lifesaving heart transplant himself in 2020.
Craig Cunningham’s story reminds us that life truly is unpredictable and that tragedies can happen at any time. But if we choose to face adversity head-on with positivity, grace, and determination, we might just come out the other side stronger than ever before.
Discovering New Passions
Looking into What Happened To Craig Cunningham Hockey Player, I am reminded of the fragility of life and how important it is to pursue your passions. Cunningham’s story highlights just how quickly things can change and make you re-evaluate your goals and dreams.
Cunningham was a former NHL player who played for several teams such as the Boston Bruins and Arizona Coyotes before moving on to play in the American Hockey League (AHL). However, tragedy struck in November 2016 when he suddenly collapsed on the ice during warm-ups, suffering from cardiac arrest caused by an undetected heart condition.
“I had no idea this was going to happen. When stuff like this happens, it really puts everything in perspective.”
Craig’s quote above perfectly encapsulates just how unexpected and sudden life can be. One moment he was pursuing his passion playing hockey professionally then next he found himself fighting for his life. It just goes to show that we must cherish every moment and pursue what truly makes us happy.
After his incident, Cunningham never returned to professional hockey but has since become involved with non-profit organizations collaborating with foundations dedicated to helping people facing physical challenges learn or rediscover a new sport they are passionate about. He started working at AZTV as their Digital Content Coordinator where he discovered another passion: content creation.
“It’s something I’ve enjoyed doing, whether it’s behind-the-scenes production work or making appearances on the shows themselves, ” Craigs says regarding his newfound passion for creating digital content.
In discovering new passions after retiring from hockey due to circumstances beyond his control, Craig reminds us all that while one door may close, others can open up if we look hard enough. While our lives can seem fragile sometimes, it is those moments that challenge us that can lead to discovering new passions and purpose in life.
A Legacy That Continues to Inspire
Craig Cunningham, a former professional ice hockey player from Canada, suffered a cardiac arrest on November 19th, 2016 before the start of an American Hockey League game between his team Tucson Roadrunners and Manitoba Moose. This incident left him in critical condition fighting for his life.
Craig was immediately rushed to the hospital where he underwent emergency surgery to stabilize his heart function. However, due to the extent of damage caused by lack of oxygen to his brain during the cardiac arrest, Craig woke up from coma with limited mobility and needed extensive rehabilitation therapy.
“Adversity doesn’t build character; it reveals it.” – James Lane Allen
Despite facing such obstacles that could have easily broken anyone’s spirit, Craig remained determined and committed towards improving his health conditions. He spent more than three months undergoing intense rehab at Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital in Edmonton.
Craig never gave up hope of returning back to hockey as he had done every day since childhood. Even though playing professionally again became impossible because of the extent of injuries sustained during his cardiac episode, he continued contributing towards the sport through other means such as scouting for Arizona Coyotes (NHL).
“We are all given a certain amount of time on this earth. . . What defines us is how we use that time.” – Craig Cunningham
Furthermore, Craig established The All Heart Foundation along with his family in order to raise awareness about sudden cardiac arrests and promote organ donation which saved his own life as well as many others across North America.
The legacy Craig has left behind reflects not only what kind of person he was but also what kind of impact one can truly make if they choose to strive positively against adversity. His relentless spirit continues inspiring many young athletes globally.
Frequently Asked Questions
What led to Craig Cunningham’s collapse on the ice?
Craig Cunningham, a former NHL player, collapsed on the ice before the start of a game between his team, the Tucson Roadrunners, and the Manitoba Moose. The cause of his collapse was cardiac arrest, which occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating. Cunningham was rushed to the hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery to save his life. The incident shocked the hockey community, and many players expressed their support and well wishes for Cunningham and his family.
What was Craig Cunningham’s condition after he collapsed?
After his collapse, Craig Cunningham was in critical condition and underwent surgery to remove part of his left leg. The surgery was necessary to improve blood flow to his brain, which had been affected by the cardiac arrest. Cunningham remained in a coma for several days and was closely monitored by doctors. His condition was uncertain, and there were concerns about his long-term health and recovery.
What was the diagnosis given to Craig Cunningham after his collapse?
After his collapse, Craig Cunningham was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition that causes the heart muscle to become thickened and stiff. This can make it difficult for the heart to pump blood effectively, and it can also lead to an irregular heartbeat. Cunningham’s condition was serious, and he underwent multiple surgeries and treatments to manage his symptoms and improve his heart function.
How did the hockey community respond to Craig Cunningham’s health crisis?
The hockey community rallied around Craig Cunningham after his health crisis, with players, coaches, and fans expressing their support and offering their prayers and well wishes. Many teams held moments of silence or wore special patches on their jerseys in honor of Cunningham, and fundraisers were held to help cover his medical expenses. The outpouring of support was a testament to the close-knit nature of the hockey community and the impact that Cunningham had made on those around him.
What is Craig Cunningham’s current health status?
Craig Cunningham has made significant progress in his recovery since his collapse, but his health status remains uncertain. He has undergone multiple surgeries and treatments to manage his heart condition, and he has worked hard to regain his strength and mobility. Cunningham has also been an advocate for heart health awareness and has shared his story to help others who may be at risk for cardiac issues. Despite the challenges he has faced, Cunningham remains optimistic and determined, and he continues to inspire those around him.
What has Craig Cunningham been doing since his collapse?
Since his collapse, Craig Cunningham has been focused on his recovery and on raising awareness about heart health issues. He has worked with organizations like the American Heart Association to promote heart screenings and to educate others about the warning signs of cardiac problems. Cunningham has also stayed involved in the hockey community, serving as a scout for the Arizona Coyotes and working with young players to help them develop their skills. Despite the challenges he has faced, Cunningham remains committed to making a positive impact both on and off the ice.