ARIZONA COYOTES

Oliver Ekman-Larsson leaves Coyotes to be with family following mother’s passing

Apr 3, 2017, 10:52 AM
Arizona Coyote defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (23), of Sweden, passes the puck as Los Angeles King...
Arizona Coyote defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (23), of Sweden, passes the puck as Los Angeles Kings Adrian Kempe (39), of Sweden, defends during the first period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Richard Hartog)
(AP Photo/Richard Hartog)

The Arizona Coyotes have granted defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson a leave of absence from the team following the death of his mother, who had been battling cancer.

OEL will not be with the team over its final three games of the season, as he left Monday to travel back to Sweden to be with his family.

“This has been a very difficult year for me personally,” said Ekman-Larsson in a press release. “I’d like to thank the Coyotes organization and all of my teammates for their incredible support all season long. I’m sorry that I’ll miss our last three games but family comes first.”

One of the cornerstones of the Coyotes’ franchise, Ekman-Larsson finishes the season with 12 goals and 27 assists to go along with 48 PIM. The 39 total points are his lowest total since 2012-13, when he posted 24.

With just a few games remaining, the Coyotes have 67 points, which is the second-worst total in the NHL. They have won two straight, however, and are within striking distance of New Jersey and Vancouver, who have 68 and 69 points, respectively.

Not having Ekman-Larsson on the ice will not help the Coyotes’ cause, but allowing him to leave the team was an easy decision.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Oliver and his family during this very difficult time,” Coyotes GM John Chayka said in the release. “Oliver has done a remarkable job dealing with this issue all season long and we commend him for the professionalism that he’s demonstrated. It’s important that he travels back to Sweden now to be with his family.”

Penguin Air

Arizona Coyotes

Lawson Crouse #67 of the Arizona Coyotes skates with the puck during the NHL game at Gila River Are...
Arizona Sports

Lawson Crouse, Arizona Coyotes agree to 5-year extension

Agreeing to an extension before an arbitration on Monday, Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse will make $4.3 million on average each year.
14 hours ago
Logan Cooley, #3 pick by the Arizona Coyotes, poses for a portrait during the 2022 Upper Deck NHL D...
Arizona Sports

Coyotes’ Logan Cooley to play for U.S. at World Junior Championship

Coyotes prospect Logan Cooley -- the 2022 No. 3 pick -- will represent the United States at the upcoming IIHF World Junior Championship.
2 days ago
Head coach of the Cleveland Monsters John Madden looks on from behind the bench against the Laval R...
Arizona Sports

Arizona Coyotes hire assistant coach John Madden

John Madden joins Andre Tourigny's coaching staff after spending the last two seasons with the San Jose Sharks as an assistant.
14 days ago
Zack Kassian #44 of the Edmonton Oilers celebrates a goal against the Ottawa Senators during the fi...
Sam Graveline

Armstrong: F Zack Kassian perfect fit for new style of ‘Coyotes hockey’

Among the many moves the Coyotes made during the NHL Draft, the sneaky acquisition of veteran forward Zack Kassian could be very important.
17 days ago
Conor Geekie is drafted by the Arizona Coyotes during Round One of the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft at...
Alex Weiner

Coyotes’ draftee Conor Geekie sets goal to make impact in 1st season

Arizona Coyotes first-rounder Conor Geekie says he believes he can make the NHL in Year 1 and have an impact.
21 days ago
Conor Geekie, #11 pick by the Arizona Coyotes, poses for a portrait during the 2022 Upper Deck NHL ...
Jake Anderson

Coyotes ink No. 11 overall pick Conor Geekie to 3-year entry-level deal

The Coyotes put pen to paper with forward Conor Geekie, who Arizona traded up to select No. 11 overall in the 2022 NHL Draft.
22 days ago
Oliver Ekman-Larsson leaves Coyotes to be with family following mother’s passing