Shott to be remembered with banner in all Arizona hockey rinks
The same phrase was consistently repeated throughout the Ice Den Chandler on Monday evening: Matt Shott is Arizona hockey.
Shott, the Arizona Coyotes’ vice president of hockey development, tragically passed away in December 2021 following a courageous battle with cancer. He worked tirelessly to help grow the game of hockey in the state of Arizona, as evidenced by the Arizona Kachinas’ receipt of Tier I status this past January.
Shott had passed away prior to that news, but his efforts to help achieve that goal spanned over a decade, and now anyone who sets foot in an Arizona hockey rink will see his number hanging from the rafters.
“I think it’s just one of those things that people get an opportunity to understand and appreciate his impact on the community,” Coyotes legend Shane Doan said on Monday. “This is who he was, this is exactly what he would want, is more people, more eyes, more young people at an arena talking and being around hockey.”
Zack Izumi, the Coyotes’ manager of hockey development and a close personal friend of Shott, said the move to preserve his memory was simply the right thing to do.
“It’s so hard to define in one thing, because he is Arizona hockey,” Izumi said. “I don’t see the growth of hockey here in Arizona without Matt.”
This isn’t the first time the Coyotes organization has been tragically impacted by cancer, either.
Leighton Accardo, who loved playing hockey and was also a fan of the Coyotes, was just nine years old when she passed away in November 2020 following her own courageous battle against the disease.
The team inducted her into its ring of honor in April 2021 and continues to keep her legacy alive through its annual ‘Skatin’ For Leighton’ events.
Her mom, Carly Accardo, said honoring the memory of both Shott and Leighton is not only important for the community, but it’s also extremely meaningful to the families.
“I know that the world is going to keep turning, and things are going to move on, but for Matt’s family to know that he’s still present, and here, and visual, it means so much,” she said. “For me, when I see someone wearing a Leighton shirt, or I see a hockey water bottle on the bench and it has a Leighton sticker on it, it just means so much to me.”
Ryan Glynn, the hockey director for the Arizona Kachinas, said Shott’s impact cannot be put into words. But now, with his number ever-present in Arizona arenas, it doesn’t necessarily have to be.
“He touched everybody’s lives,” Glynn said. “He was special. He was passionate about growing the sport of hockey, both for girls and boys, and the girls idolized him.”
Doan’s son, Josh, is captain of the Arizona State hockey team, and wore No. 94 last season as a tribute to Shott. The Coyotes prospect was a finalist for the Tim Taylor Rookie of the Year award last season and holds ASU records for total points (37) and assists (25) in his freshman season.
That he wore Shott’s number during the 2021-22 season shows the impact he had, and why the Coyotes are determined to keep his memory alive at rinks throughout the state.
“He had a heart for people, and it was fun to watch him grow,” Doan said. “He’s someone that had an impact on anyone’s life that he came in contact with. For me, what was so special was watching him go from a kid that was a hockey player to an incredible coach that just did so much for others.”
— Patrick Brown/ArizonaCoyotes.com
(October 28, 2022)