Leighton Accardo’s name will forever be seen inside Gila River Arena

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Leighton Accardo’s name will forever be seen inside Gila River Arena

The Arizona Coyotes and the late Leighton Accardo, a young girl whose spirited fight against cancer inspired and endeared her to the organization, will make NHL history on April 17 when Accardo’s name is added to the team’s Ring of Honor. 

The Coyotes announced Monday that Accardo, who was just nine years old at the time of her death last November, will become the first person who is not a former coach, player, general manager or broadcaster to be inducted into a team’s Ring of Honor in the Valley and the entire NHL.

The ceremony will take place at Gila River Arena before the Coyotes face the St. Louis Blues for a 3:00 p.m. start.

Accardo will join Wayne Gretzky and former Coyotes/Winnipeg Jets franchise players Keith Tkachuk, Jeremy Roenick, Teppo Numminen, Dale Hawerchuk, Thomas Steen, and Bobby Hull in the club’s Ring of Honor. Shane Doan’s No. 19 is retired.

“Leighton was a very special person, and we were all inspired by her incredible strength, courage, positivity, and passion for life,” Coyotes President & CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez said in a statement from the team. “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 were so deeply moved by the news of Accardo’s death that general manager Bill Armstrong, head coach Rick Tocchet and players went to the family home in Gilbert to play street hockey with her siblings and spend time with Leighton’s parents, Jeremy and Carly.

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