Earlier this week, reports surfaced that Edmonton Oilers forward Colby Cave had been experiencing headaches. He was taken to a hospital in Barrie, Ontario, and then transferred to Sunnybrook’s critical care unit with a brain bleed. From there, he was placed in a medically-induced coma following complications and underwent emergency brain surgery Tuesday, and doctors removed a colloid cyst that was causing pressure on his brain.
On Saturday, it was learned that Cave had passed away.
The Oilers confirmed Cave’s death with a statement from his family:
“It is with great sadness to share the news that our Colby Cave passed away early this morning. I (Emily, Cave’s wife) and both our families are in shock but know our Colby was loved dearly by us, his family and friends, the entire hockey community, and many more. We thank everyone for their prayers during this difficult time.”
The NHL has joined the family, as have so many teams and players, in mourning Cave today. A statement from the NHL reads:
“The National Hockey League family mourns the heartbreaking passing of Colby Cave, whose life and hockey career, though too short, were inspiringly emblematic of the best of our game,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.
“Undrafted but undaunted, Colby was relentless in the pursuit of his hockey dream with both the Edmonton Oilers and Boston Bruins organizations. An earnest and hardworking player, he was admired by his teammates and coaches. More important, he was a warm and generous person who was well-liked by all those fortunate enough to know him. We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife Emily, their families and Colby’s countless friends throughout the hockey world.”
A number of teams sent out social media messages stating their sadness over Cave’s death and sending well-wishes to his family and friends. They were joined by many of his former teammates, including statements by Boston Bruins players, where Cave started his NHL career.
Cave Was a Great Addition to the Oilers
While he spent time between the Bakersfield Condors and the Edmonton Oilers over two seasons, Cave was an excellent addition. He only played 44 total games for the Oilers; however, in those games, he often made an impact, registering three goals and four assists.
What might be remembered most was not his on-ice contributions, but the respect and love he’d earned from his teammates in only a few short games. Former Oilers forward Sam Gagner wrote on Twitter after the news:
I don’t understand any of it. What I do know is that Colby will be deeply missed. A great person with a great attitude who brought a smile to the rink every day. Deepest condolences to his family. I am so sorry for your loss. Rest In Peace Caver.
Fellow depth forward for the Oilers, Patrick Russell wrote:
The best guy around would always show up with a smile and make his surroundings better. Can’t believe this happened. Prayers and thoughts to Emily, and the family. RIP caver, you will always be missed.
Ryan Rishaug, who covers the Oilers for TSN, wrote that Cave was absolutely loved and that while he didn’t know him well, told a story about Cave being called up. He wrote:
One staff member recalls that every time Cave was recalled from the AHL he would come to the rink and head straight to the staff offices to give everyone a hug. Only player they can recall doing that. “A truly decent and loving person.”
Our Condolences to the Cave Family
Loss is never easy and at such a young age, this definitely stings. We send our condolences to the Cave family, his friends, his teammates from both the Oilers and the Condors and anyone who knew him well. This is sad day around the NHL and in Oil Country.
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Jim Parsons is a freelance writer who covers the Edmonton Oilers and news and rumors posts here at The Hockey Writers.
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