The Arizona Hockey Union lives its Mission by participating in Community Service projects throughout the season. These efforts are very important as they provide a means to give back and to demonstrate being part of something bigger. Each year the Club recognizes a team that goes above and beyond by awarding the Spirit of Service. And, this season is awarded to the Mite Silver team. Here is their story:
Before the 2019-2020 season even began the kids on Mite Silver were hit hard by their longtime friend and teammate, Leighton Accardo, being diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer. Throughout the season, many team members and families would visit Leighton while she was being treated at Phoenix Children’s Hospital always trying to brighten her day and always wondering how they could do more.
While spending time with Leighton, Mite Silver teammates and parents observed first-hand the various challenges faced by the families caring for a severely-ill child and the facilities housing them. The experience resulted in various acts of service performed my Mite Silver. For instance, a Mite Silver teammate recognized the DVD player Leighton used to watch movies during her hospital stays was worn and damaged, causing it to not always function properly. Lead by the Wilson family, Mite Silver assisted in arranging a late night delivery of brand-new DVD players on the 7th floor of Phoenix Childrens’. In addition, Mite Silver parents and teammates noticed the food/snack cabinets typically stocked with nothing more than donations for the benefit of patients and their families during long hospital stays was nearly empty. In response and with the help of the Accardo family, Mite Silver lead a “Stock the PCH Pantry” initiative to replenish the food/snack cabinet inventory. Mite SIlver collected so much food they needed a U-HAUL truck to make the donation. The staff at PCH could not believe it. And the best part was that Leighton was there, front and center, helping unload the truck, talking with a local news crew, and basically impressing the pants off of everyone there with her upbeat attitude and infectious smile.
Through the experience alongside Leighton, Mite Silver players and parents became more familiar with the monetary struggles plaguing so many of the families of a chronically ill child as well as the challenges faced by the medical support staff charged with caring for them. Leighton’s teammates learned valuable lessons concerning selfless service and determination, which their coaches sincerely hope will be remembered and applied in each the players’ lives. “This is the reason we play sports and take care of our teammates” Mite Silver said following Leighton’s first game with her team and championship in the Thanksgiving Shootout, “because it requires us to develop the character and strength to deal with life’s real challenges.”
Mite Silver is so proud of Leighton and thankful for the valuable lessons having her on the team was able to provide.
We congratulate the Mite Silver team for their community participation and their leadership in teaching these important life lessons.