After a scary, spontaneous collapse left Tucson Roadrunners captain Craig Cunningham convulsing on the ice prior to their game against the Manitoba Moose on Nov. 19, it appears he's now on the mend. But the details surrounding his medical emergency are still murky.
The incident was quite serious--on the ice, medical staff needed to cut through the 26-year-old's jersey to perform chest compressions, and an ambulance later whisked him off to a nearby hospital, where he remains.
Reports from his teammates indicate Cunningham is regaining his strength and sense of humor.
"He's awake, he's alert, had a good little chat with him and tried to boost his spirits a little bit," Roadrunners forward Christian Fisher told KVOA. "It was nice to see him smile. He was cracking jokes just as if he were here the next day. It was pretty funny. He said he wanted us to come pick him up and take him to the rink. He was joking around. Stuff like that."
A November visit from his former Boston Bruins teammate, Milan Lucic, yielded a similar response. He specifically noted he would not provide any details on Cunningham's condition.
"The good news is he's progressed a lot from the state he was in last weekend," Lucic told NHL.com. "He's heading in the right direction, but obviously there's a lot more progression and healing to be done. I can't go into too much more than that."
So far, Tucson's general manager, Doug Soetaert, has been the most forthcoming about Cunningham's situation. In November, he told the Arizona Daily Star that Cunningham is "critically ill."
In 2010, Cunningham was picked 97th overall in the fourth round of the NHL draft by the Bruins. During the 2014-15 season, he was acquired by the Coyotes via waivers, and closed out the remainder of the season with them by playing 19 games and contributing one goal and four points. Last season, he suited up for 10 games and tallied an assist.
Later in the 2015-16 season, Cunningham was sent to the Coyotes' AHL former affiliate, the Springfield Falcons, where he played 61 games and racked up 22 goals and 46 points. When the Coyotes' new affiliate, the Tucson Roadrunners, launched their franchise this year, Cunningham's role as team captain carried over. So far this season, he played 11 games in which he posted four goals and 13 points--more than any other player on the team. He also scored the first goal in franchise history.
After Cunningham's collapse, the Roadrunners postponed their game against the Manitoba Moose as well as the two following games. The Tucson Roadrunners are now 9-5-2 on the season.