Leighton Accardo, honorary Coyotes teammate, passed away, at age nine from Stage Four cancer.
Leighton Accardo, honorary Coyotes teammate, “Hockey Fights Cancer” ambassador and a skater with the Kachinas Girls’ Hockey Association, passed away, at age nine on November 24, 2020 from Stage Four cancer. Her life and spirit were honored on Saturday, April 17 at Gila River Arena prior to the game against the St. Louis Blues. She became the first individual who is not a former player, coach, general manager, or broadcaster, to be inducted into a team’s Ring of Honor in the entire National Hockey League.
“Accardo” and Leighton’s hockey number, 49, is now permanently etched into the arena’s upper ring, joining Wayne Gretzky, Keith Tkachuk, Jeremy Roenick, Teppo Numminen, Dale Hawerchuck, Thomas Steen and Bobby Hull.
The hockey community first became familiar with Leighton when she signed a one-day contract in February 2019 to be the Coyotes ambassador for “Hockey Fights Cancer Night.” In addition to serving as pre-game locker-room speaker, she swapped roles with Captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson, taking the ceremonial face-off.
“She is a part of the Coyotes, and she forever will be,” said Coyotes President and CEO Xavier Gutierrez, “her name in the Ring of Honor is incredibly special to this organization. She inspired us. She brought us together. She created hope. She brought joy.”
The Coyotes have worn “LA49” decals on their helmets this season and wore special jerseys during pre-game warm-ups on Saturday, they are being auctioned off to benefit the Leighton Accardo Memorial Scholarship Fund for girls’ hockey in Arizona.
The entire Accardo family attended the ceremony, siblings Larson, LeeAnne and Locke, and father, Jeremy (a Teammate since 2007), who took a leave from his duties as New York Mets assistant pitching coach.
This courageous young girl was able to spend time at the Child Life Zone during her stays at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
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