Chris Kushneriuk only appeared in 22 regular season games and 15 postseason contests with the Wheeling Nailers, but his impact was felt in a big way. On the ice, fans in the Ohio Valley will most remember him for his overtime goal in game seven of Wheeling's second round playoff series win against the Greenville Road Warriors. Off the ice, they know a person who put all others before himself, making for a proud citizen.
Late in the 2011-12 season, after battling an injury, Chris got the news that no one wants to hear. He was diagnosed with cancer. Although it appeared that the 25-year old had beaten it, the recent news hasn't been as positive, and Chris has found himself in yet another upward battle. However, Kushneriuk remains upbeat that he will come out on top once again. To do so he must now travel to Indianapolis in order to receive treatments that will ultimately save his life. Unfortunately with no insurance in the United States his medical expenses will be extraordinarily large, therefore needing all the financial support he can get.
Upon hearing the news, the current Wheeling Nailers players took the immediate initiative to support their former teammate. Chris Barton, Cody Chupp, Paul Crowder, Ben Farrer, Zach Hansen, Patrick Killeen, Denver Manderson, Peter Merth, Christiaan Minella, and Zack Torquato all shared the dressing room with Kushneriuk in the 2011-12 campaign, and got the rest of their active teammates on board.
During a pair of recent home games at WesBanco Arena, the players took it upon themselves to set up a table in the main concourse, in which they accepted donations for Kushneriuk's cause. The players also did their due diligence in the community, accepting donations at local area restaurants on Black Friday. In just three days of collecting, over $2,651 was raised for the graduate of Robert Morris University.
While the $2,651 is a phenomenal start, the Nailers will be continuing to raise money for Chris. There are two jerseys that will be up for auction on the internet - one signed by the Wheeling Nailers, and one donated by former head coach Stan Drulia, signed by the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals. Please support our efforts in helping Chris win this battle. All donations raised will be used for his hospital expenses. On behalf of Chris, his family, friends, and the Wheeling Nailers, we appreciate all the support you can give.