He was 25.
The Oilers confirmed Cave’s death with a statement from his family.
“I (Emily, Cave’s wife) 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,” the statement said.
The 25-year-old native of Battleford, Sask., was placed in a medically-induced coma on Tuesday at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. He was airlifted to Toronto after being admitted to a hospital in Barrie, Ont., on Monday.
Cave underwent emergency surgery on Tuesday with doctors removing a colloid cyst that was causing pressure on his brain.
On Wednesday, Emily posted an emotional update about her husband’s situation.
View this post on Instagram
Please wake up. Please wake up. It’s all I can keep asking, “he’s going to wake up right?” We need a miracle. Colby’s parents and myself, got to see him through a window and talk to him with a walkie talkie last night. We are no longer allowed to be in the hospital because Covid-19 rules. We have no idea when we will be allowed to see him again. The nurse has tied his wedding band to his ankle. I am dreaming of being able to touch you, hear your voice, squeeze your hand (3 times), and kiss you again. I love you so much, and my heart is shattered into a million pieces without my best friend 💛✨ Out of difficulties grows miracles- 1 Peter 5:10
“We need a miracle,” she wrote on Instagram. “Colby’s parents and myself, got to see him through a window and talk to him with a walkie talkie last night. We are no longer allowed to be in the hospital because Covid-19 rules. We have no idea when we will be allowed to see him again.
“The nurse has tied his wedding band to his ankle. I am dreaming of being able to touch you, hear your voice, squeeze your hand (3 times), and kiss you again. I love you so much, and my heart is shattered into a million pieces without my best friend.”
Speaking on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer on Thursday, Oilers captain Connor McDavid said, “Colby is a guy who’s just so-well liked in our room and I’m sure in every dressing room that he’s been in.”
Detroit Red Wings forward Sam Gagner played with Cave in both Edmonton and Bakersfield. “He brings a ton of energy to the rink everyday. He always has a smile on his face,” Gagner said Thursday night on Inside Sports with Reid Wilkins. “Just a great teammate, a great person.”
Cave’s agent, Jason Davidson, said Tuesday that the situation didn’t appear to be linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cave scored once in 11 appearances with Edmonton this season. He had 11 goals and 23 points in 44 games with the American Hockey League’s Bakersfield Condors this season.
The Oilers posted Cave’s goal — an impressive rush down the right wing that saw him beat a Pittsburgh defender and stuff the puck past Penguins netminder Matt Murray — on Twitter earlier this week.
“Colby is an awesome person who scored an awesome goal for us this season,” the team said.
“On behalf of the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club and the Bakersfield Condors, we wanted to express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of our teammate Colby Cave after his passing earlier this morning,” said a statement from the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club on Saturday.
“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,” the statement read.
Cave played five seasons with the Western Hockey League’s Swift Current Broncos, where he saw time as captain, before joining the Boston Bruins’ organization for the 2014-15 season after going undrafted. The Oilers claimed Cave off waivers on Jan. 15, 2019.
Cave had four goals and five assists over 67 NHL games with Boston and Edmonton.
The six-foot-one, 200-pound Cave made his NHL debut with Boston on Dec. 21, 2017 after getting called up from Providence of the AHL. He played three games with Boston that season.
The NHL Players’ Association executive director Don Fehr said Saturday that the league is “deeply saddened” by Cave’s passing.
Cave played 15 more games with Boston in 2018 before the Oilers claimed him on waivers.
Cave’s death comes just over two years after another tragedy for Saskatchewan hockey.
Sixteen people died when the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team’s bus crashed on April 6, 2018.
–With files from 630 CHED’s Reid Wilkins