The man who was struck and killed by a train last week in Shoreview played professional hockey for several years, with a one-game stop in the NHL 33 years ago.
James Cunningham, 54, was hit by a Minnesota Transportation Museum train Friday afternoon. Cunningham was on the tracks, possibly taking a picture, at the time, according to the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office. Cunningham, who lived nearby, died at the scene.
His family said in a paid obituary notice that he was taking a walk in an area he had walked in since childhood and called him "a sincere, selfless man whose humor, smile and larger-than-life presence was only outshined by his compassion and enormous heart."
Cunningham played hockey for Mounds View High School before moving to the junior level with the St. Paul Vulcans for two seasons in the mid-1970s. From there, the forward played for Michigan State before signing with the Philadelphia Flyers organization in September 1977.
Amid 48 games with the Maine Mariners of the American Hockey League, Cunningham was called up to the Flyers. He played in one game, a 4-4 tie on the road vs. Boston on Feb. 28, 1978. His professional career ended during the 1983-84 season.
Cunningham is survived by his parents, Eugene and Caroline Cunningham; children, Heidi Schauer and Amber Cunningham; brothers Mike, Mark, Brian, Donny and Danny, and sisters Karin Harder, Colleen DeCorsey and Debra Bergman.
Visitation is scheduled for 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Holcomb-Henry-Boom-Purcell Funeral Home, 515 Hwy. 96 W., Shoreview. Services are scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday at Church of St. Odilia, 3495 N. Victoria Av., Shoreview.