Arizona Coyotes to induct Leighton Accardo into Ring of Honor
Leighton Accardo endeared herself with the Arizona Coyotes. Now, she will join their Ring of Honor.
The Coyotes announced Monday they will be inducting Accardo into the team’s Ring of Honor on April 17 at Gila River Arena.
Accardo will be celebrated during a pre-game ceremony. She will become the first person to be inducted into a NHL franchise’s Ring of Honor who was not a player, coach, general manager or broadcaster.
“Our family is so honored and so proud to be a part of the Arizona Coyotes organization,” Leighton’s mother Carly Accardo said in a press release.
“She deserved every bit of the attention that she received, and the Coyotes made her last few months of life so memorable for her. … The Coyotes continue to amaze us and go above and beyond.”
After a two-and-a-half-year battle with germ cell cancer, Accardo passed away on Nov. 24, 2020.
An avid hockey fan and player, Accardo first got involved with the Coyotes in November 2019 after she signed a contract during the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer initiative.
Accardo got to spend gameday with the team and participated in warmups. She even took Captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s spot in the face-off during the ceremonial puck drop. The Coyotes defeated the Calgary Flames and Accardo was named the “first star” of the game.
Accardo will join Wayne Gretzky and former Coyotes and Winnipeg Jets players Keith Tkachuk, Jeremy Roenick, Teppo Numminen, Dale Hawerchuk, Thomas Steen and Bobby Hull in the Ring of Honor.
“Leighton was a very special person, and we were all inspired by her incredible strength, courage, positivity, and passion for life,” Coyotes president and CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez said.
“Leighton loved the game of hockey and she had an incredible impact on our entire organization and the Arizona hockey community. … Leighton will forever be a part of our Pack.”
Prior to Accardo’s induction ceremony, the team will wear warmup jerseys that read “Leighton 49” on the back rather than the player’s own names and numbers. Accardo wore No. 49 for her youth hockey team, the Arizona Kachinas.
Throughout this season, the Coyotes have also worn stickers with Accardo’s initials that read “LA49” on their helmets in her honor.