Due to a brain bleed, Edmonton Oilers forward and former Bruins prospect Colby Cave was in a medically-induced coma since Tuesday after surgeons at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital removed a cyst that caused pressure on Cave’s brain. Unfortunately for Emily and the rest of Colby’s family, friends, teammates and acquaintances, that miracle never came as Cave tragically passed away on Saturday. He was 25.
“It is with great sadness to share the news that our Colby Cave passed away early this morning,” Emily Cave stated in a press release issued by the Oilers. “I (Emily) 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.”
A former captain of the Western Hockey League’s Swift Current Broncos, Cave signed with the Bruins in April 2015 after collecting 75 points in 72 games with the Broncos. He made his professional debut with the Providence Bruins a little over a week after signing his first professional contract.
Cave collected 26 goals and 38 assists in 151 regular season games during his first two years in Providence. He added three goals and six assists in 20 postseason games during that time frame, helping the P-Bruins to the Eastern Conference Final in 2017.
On Dec. 22, 2017, Cave finally received his first callup to Boston, skating in the big club’s 2-1 home win over the Winnipeg Jets. He played another two games with Boston later that season but did not register a point.
Cave received his second promotion to Boston the following season after a hot start to his 2018-19 campaign in Providence where he registered 18 points (6 goals, 12 assists) in 15 games. He stuck on with the NHL club for 20 in his second professional hockey season.
He collected his first point, an assist, against the Detroit Red Wings on Dec. 1 Cave followed that up with his first career goal — a pivotal one at that — in Montreal on Dec. 17.
The smile Cave had on his face stretched all the way from Quebec to his hometown of North Battleford, Saskatchewan.
Cave suited up for 2019 Winter Classic, a 4-2 Bruins win over the Chicago Blackhawks at Notre Dame Stadium. On Jan. 15, the Bruins placed Cave on waivers with the intent to send him back to Providence. You could tell how much the Bruins front office thought of him, knowing he could possibly develop into a solid player in their system.
But the Oilers claimed Cave off waivers. In Edmonton, Cave skated in 33 games collecting a pair of goals and an assist to finish off his second NHL campaign.
Cave split time during this season with Edmonton and and their affiliate Bakersfield Condors. He scored a goal in 11 games with the Oilers while collecting 11-12-23 totals in 44 games with the Condors before the two leagues suspended operations. His final stat lines were 54 goals and 84 assists in 283 AHL games and 4-5-9 in 67 career contests in the NHL.
The hockey world spent Saturday mourning the loss of one of their own, with players from the Bruins and Oilers organizations along with those all across the league sending their condolences through statements and in social media.
“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 & serious,” Condors coach Jay Woodcroct said.
Cave never got to say good-bye to his teammates and coaches. He never got to do the same with his family because of the COVID-19 restrictions. His presence was felt in his short 25 years on earth by everyone who knew and met him.
From personal experience, it was always a pleasure to interview him and cover his professional hockey journey. A promising young player — and a great person — taken from the hockey world much too soon.
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