Standing near the players tunnel for the Carolina Hurricanes, the hidden face of the franchise looks on with his steely gaze and his trademark mustache.
When you come to see the Carolina Hurricanes play, most people will automatically notice certain people. The head coach, the players all who will come and go in time, but one man remains a main stay for this franchise.
Skip Cunningham, the Carolina Hurricanes equipment manager, has stood behind the bench taking care of the equipment needs of the players for this franchise since day one, literally. Skip is now entering his 47th year with the Whalers/Hurricanes franchise and shows no signs of slowing down.
Back in 1972, Cunningham joined the newly founded Hartford Whalers in the World Hockey Association, WHA, working with hockey legends like Bobby Orr. When the Whalers made the jump to the NHL, Cunningham followed and quickly became a fan favorite. From 1972 to 1990, Skip worked 1,412 consecutive games only missing a game to have surgery.
During this time, Cunningham was given many honors for his work. He worked two WHA All Star games in 1974 and 1976, and an NHL All Star Game in 1986. Skip even was selected to be the assistant trainer for Team USA during the 1985 and 1989 World Ice Hockey Championships. In 1990, the Connecticut Sports Writers Alliance presented Skip with the Good Guy award for his service to hockey in the area.
When the Whalers moved to North Carolina in 1997, Skip followed the franchise, and continued with his equipment manager duties to this day and once again become a fan favorite behind the bench. Even finally raising the Stanley Cup in 2006 and picking up his fourth NHL All Star Game in 2011 when it was hosted in Raleigh.
In 2018, the Carolina Hurricanes announced they were bringing back the Whalers, many in Raleigh automatically looked to Skip Cunningham as he is one of the few members of the old Hartford Whalers who is currently with the Hurricanes; Cunningham even received a really nice gift alongside the throwback event.
Even after 46 years in professional hockey, Skip Cunningham has always looked forward to every new season with the same passion as his first, and we look forward to seeing him on the Carolina Hurricanes bench for many more years.
Question for the CC Readers: What is your favorite Skip Cunningham moment?