The Edmonton Oilers’ scrimmage on Saturday was dedicated to the late Colby Cave, who passed away on April 11 after suffering a brain bleed days prior. He was 25-years old. The Oilers honored the former player in a “We Skate For Colby” scrimmage. Here are the highlights from the emotional day.
All players wore special #12 sweaters, which was Cave’s number. The jerseys will be auctioned with proceeds going to the Colby Cave Memorial Fund, which will go toward community programs with an emphasis on mental health initiatives and provide access to sports for underprivileged children.
Number 12 on our backs today.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) July 25, 2020
The team did a stick tap salute to Emily Cave and her family, who watched from a corner suite, before and after the scrimmage.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) July 25, 2020
Oilers forward Zack Kassian said, “Words can’t describe what that family has been through and what Emily has been through. For us to have a game here to pay our respects is the least we could do for Colby.”
“It was a tremendous honor for all of us and a great idea from the organization,” center Cooper Marody said.
Head coach Dave Tippet called Colby a “great friend to everybody and just a good person”. “He was a real lively person and he’s missed around the dressing room. I think the players enjoyed having that moment to remember him, and I think it was good for Emily and the family. It went well. It’s a day we wish we never had, but because of the circumstances, I think the guys paying respect was the right thing to do.”
Captain Connor McDavid tweeted after the scrimmage saying, “Playing for you, Caver.”
— Connor McDavid (@cmcdavid97) July 25, 2020
Emily took to Instagram following the scrimmage with an emotional message. “This was the last time I’ll see my husband’s number on the ice for a game,” she wrote. “I should be cheering on #12 for these Stanley Cup playoffs. Gut wrenching, and unfair doesn’t begin to describe my emotions.”
View this post on Instagram
This was the last time I’ll see my husband’s number on the ice for a game. I should be cheering on #12 for these Stanley Cup playoffs. Gut wrenching, and unfair doesn’t begin to describe my emotions. Humbled, and honoured to see his brothers (teammates) wearing his number today doesn’t begin to describe my emotions either. I am lucky to have experienced every milestone in Colb’s NHL career, mostly in person, if not right after the game when he flew home. First game, first assist, first goal, Winter Classic, and last goal. The only other thing I didn’t get to experience is putting our babies in the Stanley Cup, something we had talked about for years. Today, is something I never thought I’d have to experience, especially alone, without Colb. But here I am, watching #12 (multiple of them) play a game for the last time. It may not be the Stanley Cup like we talked about Colb, but I’m SO proud the NHL, hockey community, and rest of the world are seeing how incredible my husband was not just as a hockey player but as a person. Your legacy, Memorial Fund, and the impact you made makes me more proud than any Stanley Cup ring. You’re a Stanley Cup winner, husband, & best friend in my books, Colb. You always will be. I love you and miss you so much #12 🧡💙
Cave was airlifted to Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto after suffering a brain bleed on April 7 overnight. He was placed in a medically induced coma and underwent emergency surgery to remove a colloid cyst that was causing pressure on his brain.
Emily released a statement on the morning of April 11 confirming the news of his passing:
It is with great sadness to share the news that our Colby Cave passed away early this morning. 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.
An outpouring of support from players and teams across the NHL expressed their condolences. Cave was signed by the Bruins in April 2015 but played out the rest of the 2014-15 season with the Providence Bruins, Boston’s AHL affiliate. He picked up 97 points (37 goals) in Providence. His NHL debut came in the final year of his rookie contract in December 2017. Cave scored his first NHL goal on December 17, 2018. He collected 5 points that season with Boston before being placed on waivers. The Oilers claimed Colby Cave on January 15, 2019. He posted 4 points with Edmonton and 23 points (11 goals) with their AHL team, Bakersfield Condors.
Cave’s family arrived in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, two days later and it was an incredible and emotional scene on Highway 16 as thousands of cars lined the side of the road to show support as the family returned home.
The Oilers will play the Calgary Flames in an exhibition game at Rogers Place, their home arena, on Tuesday beginning at 10:30 PM ET.
By Della Young