TORONTO — Oilers forward Colby Cave died Saturday after a brain bleed this week. He was 25.
The team confirmed Cave’s death with a statement from his family:
“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.”
Commissioner Gary Bettman said Cave’s “life and hockey career, though too short, were inspiringly emblematic of the best of our game.”
“Undrafted but undaunted, Colby was relentless in the pursuit of his hockey dream.”
Cave was was placed in a medically induced coma Tuesday at a Toronto hospital. He was airlifted to Toronto after being admitted to a hospital in Barrie, Ontario, where he lived, on Monday.
Cave had surgery Tuesday for removal of a colloid cyst that was causing pressure on his brain.
Cave’s agent, Jason Davidson, said that day that Cave’s condition didn’t appear linked to the coronavirus. He also said Cave had not been involved in any kind of accident.
On Wednesday, his wife, Emily, posted an emotional update.
“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.”
Cave scored once in 11 appearances with Edmonton this season. He had 11 goals and 23 points in 44 games with AHL Bakersfield this season.
The Oilers posted Cave’s goal on Twitter this week — an impressive rush down the right wing in which he beat a Penguins defender and stuffed the puck past goalie Matt Murray.
“Colby is an awesome person who scored an awesome goal for us this season,” the team said.
Cave played five seasons with the junior Western League’s Swift Current Broncos, where he saw time as captain, before joining the Bruins’ organization for the 2014-15 season after going undrafted. The Oilers claimed Cave off waivers Jan. 15, 2019.
Cave had four goals and five assists over 67 NHL games with Boston and Edmonton.
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Cave made his NHL debut with Boston on Dec. 21, 2017, after getting called up from AHL Providence. He played three games with Boston that season.
Cave played 15 more games with Boston in 2018 before the Oilers claimed him on waivers.