Edmonton Oilers forward Colby Cave tragically passed away at the young age of 25 on Saturday morning. Cave had been in the hospital since Monday after sustaining a brain bleed overnight. Cave had emergency surgery at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto in which doctors removed a colloid cyst that was causing pressure on his brain. He remained in a medically induced coma.
Colby Cave’s wife, Emily, had been providing updates on her husband’s condition on Instagram. One of her most heartbreaking posts was one she posted on Wednesday. Emily explained how she wasn’t allowed to be in the hospital to see Colby due to COVID-19 rules. She said she saw him through a window and got to talk to him with a walkie talkie.
Emily shared the news of Colby’s passing on Saturday morning.
“It is with great sadness to share the news that our Colby Cave passed away early this morning”, Emily said. “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.”
Emily also took to Instagram to share a heartbreaking photo of her laying down with her husband on his hospital bed, which included a beautiful message about what Colby meant to her.
Both the NHL and the Edmonton Oilers organization came out with statements about Cave’s passing.
From Edmonton Oilers chairman Bob Nicholson and president Ken Holland:
“On behalf of the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club and the Bakersfield Condors, we wanted to express our deepest condolences to the family and friends after the passing of our teammate Colby Cave earlier this morning. Colby was a terrific teammate with great character, admired and liked everywhere he played. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Emily, his family and friends at this very difficult time.”
From NHL commissioner Gary Bettman:
“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. 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.”
Jay Woodcroft, who was Cave’s coach with AHL Bakersfield, also came out with a statement.
“Heartbreaking news to end a very difficult week. Colby was just such a phenomenal person to be around. He was the epitome of what a professional hockey player should be: caring, driven, focused, and serious. Our thoughts and prayers continue to remain with Emily and the entire Cave family.”
Cave played 67 games in the NHL split between the Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers. He had four goals and nine points in those contests. In 44 games with the AHL Bakersfield Condors in 2019-20, Cave recorded 11 goals and 23 points.
Cave’s last NHL goal was a thing of beauty. In a November road game against the Penguins, Cave showcased some tremendous skill by driving the puck to the net and beating defenseman Marcus Pettersson wide and deking out goaltender Matt Murray. The goal opened the scoring for the Oilers and paved way for Leon Draisaitl’s eventual overtime winner.
Colby Cave’s last NHL goal. RIP 🖤 pic.twitter.com/qzethVeLKQ
— Gino Hard (@Ginohard_) April 11, 2020
Cave won’t be forgotten by his Oilers teammates. The team, in addition to players such as Connor McDavid and Sam Gagner took to social media to pay tribute to their teammate.
Once an Oiler, always an Oiler.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) April 11, 2020
Heavy heart today. You were an amazing person and always brought so much energy and positivity into the room and peoples lives. You will be deeply missed Caver. Sending all my love to Emily and the entire Cave family through this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/tcIgfbZRbo
— Connor McDavid (@cmcdavid97) April 11, 2020
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.
— Sam Gagner (@89SGagner) April 11, 2020
Cave was originally signed by the Bruins as an undrafted free agent on April 7, 2015. He made his NHL debut Dec. 21, 2017 and later scored his first NHL goal on December. 17, 2018. Cave’s first NHL goal is one that won’t be forgotten. In a game against Boston’s arch-rivals the Montreal Canadiens, Cave scored from the slot after great set ups by teammates David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy.
While Cave only played two seasons with the Bruins, his impact on his teammates won’t be forgotten. Current Bruins Pastrnak, Torey Krug and Matthew Grzelcyk all played with Cave and took to Twitter to pay their respects to their former teammate.
Rest In Peace Caver ! Heartbreaking news I was Lucky enough to be your friend and teammate , you always had positive attitude with that smile of yours and I’ll always remember you..
— davidpastrnak (@pastrnak96) April 11, 2020
Rest In Peace, Colby. 🙏🏻 https://t.co/oCT9CBUBb8
— Torey Krug (@ToreyKrug) April 11, 2020
Devastating news today. Going to miss that infectious smile of yours Caver. Thankful I got to live with you in Providence and see firsthand your hard work & dedication to hockey. You taught me more than you know, but the best part was you were an even better person. RIP Colby ❤️
— Matthew Grzelcyk (@Matt_Grzelcyk5) April 11, 2020
Jake DeBrusk played two years with Cave in the WHL for the Swift Current Broncos and was later his teammate on the Bruins. He issued a statement to NHL.com following Cave’s passing:
“I’m so shocked and saddened to hear this horrible news. It’s hard to put my feelings into words. I was lucky to play junior hockey with Colby. He was our captain and leader. It was an unforgettable moment when we again played together in the NHL for the Boston Bruins. He was an amazing person, player and friend. Sending my deepest condolences to Emily and the Cave family. Rest in peace Colby.”
The Bruins also put out a heartfelt tweet about Colby forever being a Bruin.
Colby was, and will always be, a Bruin. pic.twitter.com/9ACmvQFkrd
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) April 11, 2020
One of the coolest things you’ll want to remember about Colby Cave is the awesome sportsmanship he showed after he delivered a brutal KO of Martin Pospisil of the Stockton Heat in the AHL back in October. Cave reached out to Pospisil via text message after the game to make sure he was okay.
— Martin Pospisil (@mpospisil91) October 20, 2019
Colby Cave was a young and healthy 25-year-old with a promising life in front of him. A day like this one serves as a reminder of how fragile life really is.