The Edmonton Oilers announced Tuesday the creation of the Colby Cave Memorial Fund in honor of the forward who died over the weekend at the age of 25.
“My greatest honor in life will always be that I am Colby Cave’s wife,” Emily Cave said in a statement. “I love him dearly, I always will and miss him beyond words. He taught me so much. He was genuine, caring, selfless, had a contagious laughter, but most importantly had the biggest heart.
“Though our time with him on earth was cut short, I am grateful that the whole world can now see how incredible my husband was and how lucky I am to be his wife. Colby would be humbled by the Colby Cave Memorial Fund, and I am looking forward to continuing his legacy alongside the Edmonton Oilers and the rest of the hockey community.”
On April 7, the team reported that Cave suffered a brain bleed overnight and was airlifted to Toronto. He underwent emergency surgery to remove a colloid cyst that was putting pressure on his brain and was placed in a medically induced coma. The Oilers announced his passing on Saturday.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Oilers chairman Bob Nicholson discussed the impact Cave had on the organization and the hockey community.
“You look at Colby, undrafted player, went to the Boston Bruins, a great story,” Nicholson said. “They had a jersey for him in the ECHL and he never went there. It just showed the character of Colby, the type of player he was, how hard he worked and now I look at how our family has come together.
“Kenny (Ken) Holland, our president and GM, reached out right away to Emily. We were able to get Colby’s Mom and Dad out to Barrie (Ont.) and just the outpour of support from the hockey community. Mark Lamb, his coach in Swift Current, all the great things he said about Colby as a player and how he worked to have his dream [and] play in the National Hockey League. Jay Woodcroft, coaching him in Bakersfield, to Dave Tippett, everyone just speaks of the great, great character of Colby. What a tremendous person he was.”
Nicholson said he’s spoken often with team captain Connor McDavid, reminiscing about Cave. McDavid remembered the hard-working forward as a quality teammate who was selfless and brought a positive attitude.
“He (Cave) always made sure his teammates were front and center,” Nicholson noted. “We had a couple of difficult times and Colby went up and down between the Oilers and Bakersfield, and every time that coach Tippett and Kenny would talk to him, he took it in such a positive way. He went down and worked harder and came back up. I remembered him coming back up and scoring some great goals so it’s really just the character.
On Monday, cars lined up on Highway 16 in North Battleford, Sask., to pay tribute to Cave as his family returned to their hometown. Nicholson said he was moved seeing the support in the community for Colby.
According to the Oilers chairman, Emily Cave will lead the fund’s efforts in hopes this will keep Colby’s memory alive.
“We really want to make sure we do this with the hockey community,” Nicholson said. “The Boston Bruins, who were such a big part of Colby’s professional career, will certainly look at doing things for Colby in his name. The Western Hockey League and (commissioner) Ron Robison have been reaching out, so we really just want to make sure we have a real partnership to do something special.
“Emily has been so strong through this, through a difficult time, and she really wants to lead this Colby Cave Memorial Fund and we think of that as outstanding that she’ll be the leader as we roll out this program that we’ll have for many years to come in Edmonton and throughout our country.”
The Colby Cave Memorial Fund proceeds will be focused on mental health initiatives and providing access to sports for underprivileged children. Nicholson welcomes the hockey community to partner with them.
“We’re looking for people to donate to this and really have something that we can do on an annual basis to make a difference in people’s lives,” he added. “That was something that was really important to Colby. He worked a lot in the community so we can help kids and individuals with mental health and also get kids to play hockey and other sports. This will be something that Colby and Emily will be very proud of. I can tell you that the Edmonton Oilers along with so many other people in the hockey community will work many, many hours to make this happen for Colby.”
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