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Oilers forward Colby Cave dies at 25

NHL: OCT 02 Canucks at Oilers

EDMONTON, AB - OCTOBER 02: Edmonton Oilers Center Colby Cave (12) defends his own zone in the first period during the Edmonton Oilers game versus the Vancouver Canucks on October 2, 2019 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, AB.(Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Edmonton Oilers forward Colby Cave has passed away after suffering a brain bleed earlier this week.

The 25-year-old Cave was airlifted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital and placed in a medically induced coma on Tuesday. He underwent emergency surgery where doctors removed a colloid cyst, which was causing pressure on his brain.

The Cave family released the following statement on Saturday morning:

“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.”

His wife Emily posted updates on Instagram updating Cave’s condition during the week:

“We need a miracle,” she wrote on Thursday. “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.”

“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,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in a statement. “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.

“We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife Emily, their families and Colby’s countless friends throughout the hockey world.”

The Oilers released the following statement from chairman Bob Nicholson and GM Ken Holland:

On behalf of the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club and the Bakersfield Condors, we wanted to express our deepest condolences to the family and friends after the passing of our teammate Colby Cave earlier this morning. 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.

Donald Fehr shared the NHLPA’s condolences, as well.

“We are deeply saddened by the untimely passing of Colby Cave. He was living his dream of playing professional hockey, a career tragically cut short. As a player and a man, Colby was respected by his teammates and all who knew him. He will be dearly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Colby’s wife Emily, his family, friends and teammates.”

“Colby Cave was beloved as a teammate and friend, as a husband and son,” said AHL President and Chief Executive Officer David Andrews in a statement. “The entire American Hockey League extends our deepest condolences to Colby’s wife, Emily, and his entire family, as well as to those whose lives he touched in the Oilers and Bruins organizations and throughout hockey.”

Cave, who was as acquired by the Oilers via waivers in Jan. 2019, spent most the 2019-20 season with their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield, playing 44 games and recording 23 points. He was up in the NHL for 11 games with Edmonton this season.


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.