For those who have been reading hockey news on our NHLTradeTalk.com site, you probably know that it’s a family thing. My son Jim is the brains and hard work behind the site, and I am a retired university professor – the dad – who writes for and with him. It’s all about family.
It’s that family thing that’s so important – above all else. And today, we are all reminded when family emerged as hugely important in the NHL hockey community.
Young Edmonton Oilers forward Colby Cave died today. It was a few days after suffering a brain bleed that had nothing at all to do with the COVID-19 virus. It was, sadly, just as fatal, however.
A Young Family Couple Now Separated
As we have covered the Colby Cave story for the past few days, there was something about the family aspect of it that for me transcended the hockey-news element of the story. I was especially taken by Colby’s young wife who had admitted that the past few days had been the worst of her life.
She was speaking from her heart. She was married to a young man from Battleford, Saskatchewan, who, although many would believe he’s “living a dream,” was subject to the same accidents and illnesses that can befall any of us. Like Sam Gagner, we don’t understand.
Cave’s wife Emily, who on Wednesday posted on Instagram that her family needed a “miracle,” released a statement today confirming the news that her 25-year-old husband had passed.
In her statement, she said, “It is with great sadness to share the news that our Colby Cave passed away this morning. 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.”
Colby Cave’s Illness
For those who didn’t know the story, Cave was experiencing headaches and was airlifted on Tuesday to Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. There he had been put into a medically-induced coma after having emergency surgery to remove a colloid cyst that was causing pressure on his brain.
Here’s where COVID-19 impacted Cave’s death. Because of the rules surrounding the pandemic, Emily and other family members were unable to visit Colby in the hospital over the past few days because of COVID-19 rules.
Tributes from the Hockey Community
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman released a statement Saturday that, “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.”
Bettman gave tribute to Cave’s hard-working attitude when he wrote, “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.”
Bettman added, “We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife Emily, their families and Colby’s countless friends throughout the hockey world.”
Jay Woodcroft, Colby’s head coach with the Bakersfield Condors said, “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.”
Colby was a native of Battleford, Saskatchewan. This season he had scored one goal in 11 games with the Oilers. And, as Commissioner Bettman noted, he was originally undrafted, but he had four goals and five assists over 67 NHL games with the Bruins and the Oilers.
My son Jim and I and our families offer our blessings to the Cave family in this time of such deep sadness. We leave you with a happier moment in memory of Colby Cave’s success in the NHL.
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