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Lanny McDonald and a few old Flames take the Stanley Cup on a surprise visit to the man who saved his life


The Stanley Cup was passing through town Friday, and Lanny Legend took it upon himself to take it for a surprise visit.

McDonald, who was the co-captain (with Jim Peplinski) of the Flames’ only Stanley Cup-winning team in 1989, took the cup over to visit one particular Calgary police officer who literally saved McDonald’s life when he experienced a cardiac arrest earlier this year.

That was Const. Jose Cives, who was on scene at the Calgary International Airport when McDonald collapsed there.

Friday night, at a CPS fundraiser, McDonald showed up with the Stanley Cup and a few  old Flames teammates, Tim Hunter, Colin Patterson and Rick Walmsley, to shoot some pictures, share some stories and celebrate the 35th anniversary of winning the Cup with the man who greatly improved the odds that McDonald will be able to celebrate the 36th as well.

Cives recalled the events of Feb.4.

“I got a call over the radio whereby I was informed that an adult male had collapsed, possibly (from) a heart attack," he said. "I raced down to the location they had given me, automatically took over from the male that was doing chest compressions and continued from there on after."

"I’m told that we worked on him for 10 minutes solid," he added, "and together with the use of an AED there were many times that night when I thought that Lanny wasn’t going to make it through, but I wasn’t going to stop until I got some sort of result,” Cives said.

“Well he is a local hero,” McDonald said. “Jose saved my life along with two beautiful nurses who jumped in when I had my cardiac arrest and to be able to bring the Cup here, when it was in town and just happened to be there for a (CPS) fundraising event here as well – they had no idea it was coming – we had given them a couple auction items, but to be able to surprise them here, knowing they make such a difference in the community, is so rewarding and what a great way to thank Jose.”

Coffee talk

It turns out that McDonald’s cardiac arrest event has made him fast friends with Cives.

“We go for coffee,” McDonald said. “We laugh. We cry, we share stories back and forth and to find out a little more about his family –he lives down in Okotoks, has three kids, didn’t want any fanfare at all – he just says, like “I was doing my job.’”

Cives said he enjoys the stories McDonald shares with him too.

“I’m glad that we’ve made that connection," he said. "We get along brilliantly. We have a lot of laughs – there isn’t a day that goes by that he doesn’t remind me that I’m the man that broke him! His ribs, his sternum – but on the flip side, he always tells me that he’s forever thankful that I’m one of the people that saved his life.”

The Stanley Cup moved on to Edmonton Saturday, where the Oilers were busy preparing to play Game 6 Sunday night, needing one more win to advance to the finals.

Lanny McDonald visited a Calgary Police Service fundraiser Friday night to surprise Const. Jose Cives, who saved McDonald's life when he had a near-fatal heart attack at Calgary Airport in early February. Top Stories

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