Leighton Accardo, 9-Year-Old Who Died of Cancer, to Enter Coyotes' Ring of Honor

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIIApril 16, 2021

Leighton Accardo, left, who is battling cancer, drops the puck in front of Arizona Coyotes' Oliver Ekman-Larsson (23) and Calgary Flames' Mark Giordano (5) during an NHL Fights Cancer puck drop ceremony prior to an NHL hockey game in Glendale, Ariz., in this Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, photo. Accardo's will to attack anything in her path, even terminal cancer, lifted an entire organization. The Arizona Coyotes will carry her spirit on by making her the first non-player, general manager or broadcaster to be inducted into an NHL team's ring of honor.  (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

The Arizona Coyotes will posthumously induct Leighton Accardo into the team's Ring of Honor on Saturday, making her the first person who wasn't a player, coach, general manager or broadcaster to receive the distinction.

Arizona Coyotes @ArizonaCoyotes

In our hearts. On our backs. 4.17.21 https://t.co/uq8pu6hAsZ

Accardo died in November at age nine after being diagnosed with cancer. Her family will be present at the pregame ceremony, and the team will wear special warm-up jerseys designed to honor the Coyotes fan. The sweaters will be auctioned off, and all proceeds will support the Leighton Accardo Scholarship Fund to help provide access for girls who want to play hockey in Arizona.

Arizona Coyotes @ArizonaCoyotes

"I'm not scared. My friends are here with me right now." When Leighton was first diagnosed with cancer, her teammates hosted a head shaving party in support of her fight. πŸ’œ https://t.co/gKIebeqMux

Arizona Coyotes @ArizonaCoyotes

Leighton's legacy will live on forever. In 2021, we introduced "Little Leightons," a program for girls 5-9 to learn how to play hockey. All girls wear yellow for childhood cancer awareness and #49 to remember to always "skate hard, have fun." πŸ’›πŸŽ—οΈ https://t.co/3h6yEK0uaj

Coyotes president Xavier A. Gutierrez said in a statement:

"Leighton was a very special person, and we were all inspired by her incredible strength, courage, positivity, and passion for life. Leighton loved the game of hockey and she had an incredible impact on our entire organization and the Arizona hockey community. We are honored to carry on her legacy and preserve her memory by inducting her into our Ring of Honor. Leighton will forever be a part of our Pack."

The Coyotes have raised $75,000 for the scholarship fund as their efforts to honor Accardo continue.


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