GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) – Lindsay Fry remembers the day she met Leighton Accardo.
Addressing a group of 40 children at a hockey camp, he felt the tension of a 4-year-old girl who needed to take a bath.
Crispy wrinkled face, unforgiveness.
Fry remembers the day Leighton died.
The Arizona coyotes were supposed to visit the 9-year-old for the last time that day. They just missed him.
The sob under the sigh, the regret that I will not see him soon.
“He was the kid on the rink that everyone knew because he had this radiant positivity, the bubbling, whatever you want to call it, wherever he went,” said Fry, Coyotes’s director of women’s hockey. was”:
The Coyotes will take an unusual step before Saturday’s game against St. Louis by including Leighton in their circle of honor.
The hockey player’s stubborn inspiration will make her the first person in NHL history not to be a former player, coach, general manager or broadcaster to join the team.
His name will be joined by Wayne Gretzky, Keith Tkachuk, rem Jeremy Renick, Tepo Numminen, Dale Howerchuk, Thomas Stein and Bobby Halin inside the Gila River Arena.
Leighton’s footprint on the organization goes so deep.
“He really impressed us, not just as a hockey enthusiast, but as someone who really captured the spirit of flexibility և flexibility և overcoming incredible challenges, ‘” said Xavier Gutierrez, CEO and CEO of Coyotes. “His famous saying was, ‘Don’t ski, have fun.’ And that was really what we wanted to keep doing, to really keep it as a memory in our memories. ”
There is a connection every time a professional athlete meets with a child with cancer. Meetings move the players, raise the children, but they are often short.
Leighton’s sparkling spirit, his stubbornness on the ice – everything in life – և that smile was like an imprint on every soul he touched.
At an early age he had an unusual tangle, one of the first times he fell, cried on the ice, but refused to go out. It took her to fight cancer.
Leighton was memorable.
“People really got so much out of it that he took it with him in the fight against cancer,” Fry said. “I mean, it seems like something adults can’t handle, he just did it with so much grace, so much positive. He never wanted anyone to feel sorry for him. “
From the day the first riot of Fry pants began, Leighton was the girl who stood out for herself.
His father, Rem Jeremy, played eight seasons in the major leagues and is the assistant coach of the New York Mets pitching. The athletic ability was passed on to Leighton, who excelled in hockey and baseball, no matter what he tried.
The underground flow of stubbornness pushes it forward.
Fry saw it at the clinic through the Arizona Cachinas Youth Hockey Program.
Coyotes players and coaches fell in love with Leighton when he became their ambassador on Hockey Cancer Nights. It was reinforced by numerous interactions, including visits to her ward.
“We obviously knew how special Leighton was, what an amazing soul he was,” said Leighton’s mother, Carly, through tears. “It simply came to our notice then. They connected with him on such a personal, different level. “
The news of Leighton’s death on November 24 brought sadness in the world of hockey in Phoenix.
The Coyotes kept their promise to visit by playing street hockey in front of the family home in honor of the day before. Corners condolence messages were poured from all corners.
Fry called his boss. He planned to roll 96 miles to raise money for Phoenix Children’s Hospital or another location for sick children.
As Leighton passed, Skatin ‘for Leighton shifted its focus. The money would go to a Leighton Scholarship to help girls interested in playing hockey in Arizona.
Fry was released from Phoenix Children’s Hospital on February 21 and struck all seven glaciers in the Phoenix area before appearing at Gila River Arena.
Fry slipped for more than 14 hours, his legs and ankles were shaking, his thighs were burning. He was constantly pushing forward, completing a journey that raised more than $ 100,000 for the Leighton Accardo Scholarship Fund.
“I kept telling myself all day, at the end of the day, it was nothing,” said Fry, who serves as a Coyotes radio analyst. “I mean, even then it was difficult, it would hurt my hips, retired or anything. “I’m just reminding myself that this is nothing compared to what Leighton had to do.”
The Coyotes signed Leighton in 2019, and this season the players wore the “LA49” decal on their helmets. They will auction Leighton 49 warm-up shirts before Saturday’s game, and the proceeds will go to its scholarship fund.
The ring of honor will tighten her place in the organization – the memory of a memorable girl who lives forever.
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