UPDATE 11/21 (1:30pm CT): Coyotes head coach Dave Tippet has issued an update on Cunningham’s condition on behalf of the team. Tippet says that Cunningham is stable, but remains in critical condition. The 26-year-old is believed to have suffered a heart attack and is still dealing with the related cardiac complications. Tippet added that the team will not comment any further, allowing Cunningham and his family their space.
It was a scary scene in Tucson on Saturday night.
Tuscon Roadrunners captain Craig Cunningham suffered a “medical emergency” on the ice prior to Tucson’s game versus the Manitoba Moose. He is currently in hospital receiving treatment, according to Arizona Coyotes GM John Chayka.
Mike Christy of the Arizona Daily Star reported that the 26-year-old Cunningham collapsed just moments before puck drop and appeared to convulse after hitting the ice. Medics cut away his jersey and did chest compressions before removing him from the ice and taking him to a local hospital. The players were sent back to their dressing rooms and the game was postponed to a later date.
Global BC’s Jay Janower tweeted that the Trail, BC-native Cunningham had a heart attack and is in critical condition, with his mom at his side. Janower added that Cunningham’s blood pressure has increased, which is a good sign. In the team’s statement, Chayka did not confirm any specifics, but promised to “provide a medical update once we receive more information.”
Cunningham is a very good AHL forward, with 203 points in 319 games. His 13 points in 11 games lead his team in scoring this season. Cunningham has eight points in 63 NHL games with Boston and Arizona over the past three seasons. He is also considered a good leader and teammate; he’s served as captain of the Providence Bruins and Springfield Falcons before Arizona moved the Falcons to Tucson this past summer.
John Buccigross of ESPN SportsCenter tweeted a link to a story he wrote on Cunningham’s incredible journey to the NHL back in 2014 when he first cracked the Bruins lineup. Get-well messages have come in from around North America, including Landon Ferraro, who grew up with Cunningham, and Milan Lucic, who called Cunningham “one of [his] best friends.”
Lucic was quoted in Buccigross’ article as saying Cunningham was “a great fit” on the Bruins, before comparing him, somewhat ominously, to Rich Peverley. Peverley was a solid two-way player, before he suffered a cardiac event on the bench during a March 2014 game, which forced him to retire.
We here at Pro Hockey Rumors wish Cunningham and his family all the best during this difficult time.