On Saturday news broke that Edmonton Oilers forward Colby Cave had suddenly and shockingly passed away at the young age of 25 years old. The news of such a young man losing his life, a professional athlete at his athletic prime no less, sent shockwaves through the hockey world and has resulted in some very emotional reactions from literally hundreds of people around the league. Although this will come as little comfort to Cave's loved ones, the sheer outpouring of support today is an indication that Cave's short life was one that left a major impact on those he came into contact with.
Below are some examples of reactions to today's news from former teammates, NHL players, teams and the league itself. The list is by no means a comprehensive one, but we hope this will highlight some of the positive impacts that Cave made during his time in and around the National Hockey League.
Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara:
“To Colby’s wife Emily, his parents, and both of their families, I am so saddened and sorry for your loss,” said the Bruins captain. “Our thoughts and prayers are with you all during these difficult times. We will all cherish our memories and be grateful for the time we had with such a special person as Colby. He was a great teammate and a friend. He will be deeply missed. On behalf of myself and the rest of the players on the Boston Bruins, please accept our most heartfelt sympathies for your loss.”
Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron:
“I’m very saddened by the news of Colby’s passing this morning,” said Bergeron in a statement released by the Bruins. “He was a tremendous young man with passion, dedication and, respect for the game of hockey. Beyond that, he was genuine, respectful and always full of life. I’m glad our paths crossed, and I had the chance to get to know him. He will be dearly missed by all. On behalf of myself, my wife Stephanie, and our three kids, we send our most sincere condolences to his wife Emily and his whole family. We are keeping you in our thoughts and sending you strength and love during this unimaginable time.”
Boston Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk:
“I’m so shocked and saddened to hear this horrible news. It’s hard to put my feelings into words,” said DeBrusk, a former teammate of Cave's even prior to them playing in the NHL. “I was lucky to play junior hockey with Colby. He was our captain and leader. It was an unforgettable moment when we again played together in the NHL for the Boston Bruins. He was an amazing person, player, and friend.”
Bruins forward David Pastrnak:
Rest In Peace Caver ! Heartbreaking news I was Lucky enough to be your friend and teammate , you always had positive attitude with that smile of yours and I’ll always remember you.
NHL legend Wayne Gretzky:
Janet and I are so sad to hear of Colby’s passing. He was a wonderful hockey player with a bright future, but an even better person. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Emily and his entire family.
Edmonton Oilers forward Sam Gagner:
I don’t understand any of it. What I do know is that Colby will be deeply missed. A great person with a great attitude who brought a smile to the rink every day. Deepest condolences to his family. I am so sorry for your loss. Rest In Peace Caver.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman also released a statement:
“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. 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.”
There were many, many, more examples of messages like this from players and personalities around the National Hockey League. Colby Cave may be gone from this world, but there are many who will remember him long after he is gone.