Craig Cunningham’s number to be retired in Tucson

The Tucson Roadrunners will retire Trail native Craig Cunningham’s number-14 in October ceremony

It has been a traumatic and life-altering year for Trail native Craig Cunningham, but his American Hockey League legacy will be preserved and honoured by the Arizona Coyotes’ AHL affiliate, the Tucson Roadrunners, in October.

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 news on the weekend:

#Coyotes Pro Scout Craig Cunningham will have his #14 retired by the #Roadrunners on Friday, October 27 at Tucson Arena. Hosting Iowa.

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 former Beaver Valley Nitehawk 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.

Cunningham was also awarded the Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award in April as the AHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey.

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.

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