It’s been two weeks and a day since the Edmonton Oilers’ Colby Cave passed away early on Saturday morning April 11. He was just 25-years-old when he passed – really, at the very height of his youth and strength. It was just one small part of his body – a blood vessel that gave out and sadly that was enough.
At the time of his passing, the Cave family issued this statement: “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.”
Emily was Colby’s wife. He suffered a brain bleed on Monday night, was placed in a medically-induced coma, and had emergency surgery to remove a colloid cyst that was causing pressure on his brain. Sadly, he passed away four days later.
An Honor to Cave from the Great People of Saskatchewan
Long-time family friend Bob Bartkewich, who still plays hockey with Colby’s father, had hoped to find a way to honor the Cave family at the same time not violating any COVID-19 restrictions. To support the family, he and other friends had the idea to form a line of vehicles along Highway 16 leading into Battleford so the family could see how much the community cared as they returned home.
The community showed up in spades to pay their respects. Some held signs and others stood by their vehicles wearing Oilers and Cave hockey jerseys. The line-up of vehicles lined stretched several kilometres in Saskatchewan along Highway 16 to greet family members of Colby Cave.
Bartkewich said the idea simply snowballed. About 500 signs that had Cave’s Oilers jersey with his number 12 on it were printed. Some people held the signs while others stood outside their vehicles wearing hockey jerseys when the fire trucks led the family’s vehicle down the highway.
That demonstration of care for the family, as Bartkewich noted, “ just goes to show you the impact that the Cave family and Colby had in town.” Colby’s dad is a third-generation farmer with a large cattle ranch. Colby loved the ranch and would do chores with his family when he was home.
Colby was remembered as a good farm kid who never was cocky about being in the NHL and would teach children in Battleford how to skate and play. He always had an eye to help those who were first-time skaters or hockey players.
The Colby Cave Memorial Fund
The Cave Family and the Edmonton Oilers recently announced the creation of the Colby Cave Memorial Fund as a way to help carry on the memory of Oilers forward. In a statement released by the Oilers: “Proceeds from the fund will go toward community programs with an emphasis on mental health initiatives and providing access to sports for underprivileged children.”
Colby’s wife Emily stated, “Colby would be humbled by the Colby Cave Memorial Fund.” She also noted that she looks “forward to continuing his legacy alongside the Edmonton Oilers and the rest of the hockey community.”
Cave played 11 games for the Oilers this season; however, he spent most of the season playing for the Oilers American Hockey League affiliate in Bakersfield, California. Cave also played for the Swift Current Broncos where ex-Oilers’ center Mark Lamb was the coach. He was spending the NHL suspension in play with his wife’s family in Ontario.
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