PHOENIX — The Arizona Coyotes cut the ribbon, unveiling the new Coyotes Community Ice Center in Mesa, which will serve as the home of the Arizona Kachinas.
The new sheet of ice is a big step forward for the women and girls hockey program that has never had a home of its own.
“It’s huge for the girls, not just for the girls who are playing hockey now but for the girls who are going to be playing for the next 10, 15, 20 years,” said Kachinas president Lyndsey Fry.
"To be able to have the resources to be able to train, have consistent ice time, hang their banner and trophies somewhere, it’s huge for these kids."
Girls hockey in Arizona has grown 53% over the last five years and 236% in the last 10 years.
“I’ve never seen girls hockey like that,” said Coyotes new general manager Bill Armstrong. "It’s really remarkable for this to happen in the desert, and to add another ice sheet is going to help it grow.”
Leighton Accardo, an honorary member of the Coyotes organization and a hockey player herself, was supposed to attend the ribbon-cutting event.
When her cancer treatment got in the way, the Phoenix Children’s Hospital worked to still get her there via a robot with live streaming capabilities.
“I wish I could be there in person but still I get to see the arena, I’ve never seen it yet,” said Leighton.
A total of 12 girls teams will call this rink home and Leighton can’t wait to try out the new sheet of ice for herself.
“I honestly love brand new ice,” said Leighton.
“You can’t ask for a better player in your association playing for one of your teams,” said Fry. We’re super proud of her, we’re really excited to get her back on the ice and playing in that super cool Kachina green jersey.”