Coyotes grant Ekman-Larsson leave of absence for remainder of season

Joe Thornton injured his leg against Vancouver, Anaheim regained top spot in the Pacific and Boston moved past Ontario's teams.

Arizona Coyotes defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson has been granted a leave of absence after the Swedish defenceman’s mother passed away after a lengthy bout with cancer.

The 25-year-old will head back to Sweden on Monday to be with his family and will not return for Arizona’s final three games.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Oliver and his family during this very difficult time,” said Coyotes general manager John Chayka in a release. “Oliver has done a remarkable job dealing with this issue all season long and we commend him for the professionalism that he’s demonstrated. It’s important that he travels back to Sweden now to be with his family.”

Ekman-Larsson has long been one of few bright spots on a Coyotes team that currently has the second-worst record in the National Hockey League. He’ll finish the 2016-17 season with 12 goals and 39 points in 76 games.

“This has been a very difficult year for me personally,” said Ekman-Larsson. “I’d like to thank the Coyotes organization and all of my teammates for their incredible support all season long. I’m sorry that I’ll miss our last three games but family comes first.”

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