NHL: Doc­u­men­tary de­tails Conacher’s chal­lenge with di­a­betes

The Peterborough Examiner - - SPORTS - JOHN CHIDLEY-HILL

If opening his life up helps in­spire one child with di­a­betes, Cory Conacher will be a happy man.

“Miracle, Baby,” a doc­u­men­tary about how Conacher over­came di­a­betes to be­come a pro­fes­sional hockey player, de­buts on­line Thurs­day as part of World Di­a­betes Day. Conacher hopes the 30-minute film will give hope to kids with the dis­ease.

“Di­a­betes shouldn’t in­ter­fere with any­thing in your life. It shouldn’t have any ef­fect on any­thing you want to do when you get older or the dreams you have,” Conacher said. “I dreamed big as a young boy and my par­ents taught me to al­ways stay pos­i­tive, to stay hum­ble, to take care of your­self.

“That’s how I live ev­ery day, es­pe­cially with di­a­betes, I made sure my num­bers were good, my sugar lev­els were good.”

Un­drafted out of Cani­sius Col­lege, Conacher had sev­eral pro­fes­sional try­out con­tracts in the Amer­i­can Hockey League be­fore land­ing with the Nor­folk Ad­mi­rals, then the mi­nor league af­fil­i­ate of the Tampa Bay Light­ning. He was a crit­i­cal part of

Nor­folk’s 28-game win streak in 2011-12, a pro­fes­sional hockey record.

Conacher won the league MVP that sea­son, only the fourth rookie to win the award since 1948, and has gone on to play 189 games in the NHL with the Light­ning, Ot­tawa Sen­a­tors, Buffalo Sabres and New York Is­lan­ders.

It was im­por­tant for Conacher to share his story be­cause he had been was sim­i­larly in­spired as a kid af­ter meet­ing Ajay Baines, a long-time pro on the AHL’s Hamil­ton Bull­dogs who had di­a­betes.

“As a kid I al­most lis­tened to him more than I lis­tened to my par­ents be­cause he did what I wanted to do when I got older,” Conacher said. “He was a guy that I wanted to be like. I know that there are some kids that are hockey play­ers that get di­ag­nosed with di­a­betes that think their life is over or they can’t play pro­fes­sional or com­pet­i­tive hockey any­more.

“He def­i­nitely made a dif­fer­ence in my life and if I could help just one per­son, that’s the main goal.”

Conacher, 29, is back with Tampa’s AHL team — now the Syra­cuse Crunch — and spends his off-sea­sons spend­ing time with his fam­ily and vol­un­teer­ing at sum­mer camps for chil­dren with di­a­betes. It was that work that caught the at­ten­tion “Miracle, Baby” writer, direc­tor and pro­ducer C. Hud­son Hwang.

“He sent me a mes­sage about how he’s done films in the past, health doc­u­men­taries, and how he was in­ter­ested in do­ing one on di­a­betes,” Conacher said. “He wanted to do one on my life and what it’s like to live with di­a­betes play in the NHL. I con­tacted my dad and we both agreed to do it and the rest is his­tory.”

“Miracle, Baby” will be avail­able at supre­con­tent.com/ mir­a­cle­baby start­ing Thurs­day and will be free to screen through the rest of Di­a­betes Aware­ness Month. It will also be avail­able on SUPRE’s YouTube chan­nel for the rest of Novem­ber.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE PHOTO

Cory Conacher, left, who is in the Light­ning or­ga­ni­za­tion, shares his di­a­betes story in a new doc­u­men­tary called “Miracle, Baby.”

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