Coyotes create special experience for 8-year-old cancer patient

Vanessa Kezwer

The Arizona Coyotes welcomed its newest member, 8-year-old Leighton Accardo, to the club on Saturday and it was awesome.

In honour of Hockey Fights Cancer, the Coyotes signed Leighton, who’s currently battling Stage 4 cancer, to a contract and provided her with the ultimate player experience.

Accardo’s day began with Coyotes general manager John Chayka as she signed the paperwork needed to make the transaction official.

She then offered to assume the role of the squad’s good luck charm, allowing her teammates to rub her head. Derek Stepan adorably returned the favour.

Warmups were next on the agenda, so Leighton threw on her gear and passed the puck around with Vinnie Hinostroza and Lawson Crouse. She and Hinostroza also shared goal celebration tips with one another.

When it was time for the ceremonial puck drop, Leighton skated to centre ice ready to conduct the honours, but Oliver Ekman-Larsson had other plans in mind. Ekman-Larsson asked her for the puck and handed her his stick, urging her to take the faceoff against Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano. What a moment.

The Coyotes made the day special for Leighton and I’m sure she made it special for them, too. She was certainly quite the good luck charm as Arizona shut out Calgary 3-0.

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