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Oilers forward Colby Cave dies at 25

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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.

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

Oilers say Colby Cave remains in medically induced coma

(UPDATE: Cave sadly passed away on Saturday at age 25.)

TORONTO — Edmonton Oilers forward Colby Cave remains in a medically induced coma in a Toronto hospital after suffering a brain bleed earlier in the week.

The Oilers, through Cave’s family, provided an update on Cave’s status Thursday on their Twitter account.

”This is giving his brain time to heal & rest from all he’s been through,” the team wrote in the post.

The 25-year-old native of Battleford, Saskatchewan, was airlifted Tuesday to Sunnybrook Hospital and underwent emergency surgery. Doctors removed a colloid cyst that was causing pressure on his brain.

Cave’s wife, Emily, posted an update on Instagram on Wednesday after seeing him through a window with his parents and talking to him via a walkie-talkie.

”My heart is shattered into a million pieces without my best friend,” she wrote.

Emily Cave said the family is no longer allowed to be in the hospital because of COVID-19 rules. She said they have no idea when they will be allowed to see him again.

Cave scored one goal in 11 games with Edmonton this season. He has four goals and five assists over 67 NHL games with Boston and Edmonton.

Oilers’ Colby Cave in coma after suffering brain bleed

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(UPDATE: Cave sadly passed away on Saturday at age 25.)

Oilers forward Colby Cave has been placed in a medically-induced coma after suffering a brain bleed, the team announced on Tuesday.

“I talked to Colby’s wife [Emily] this morning,” said Oilers GM Ken Holland. “What she said was over the course of last night, he had some headaches and stuff, so they got him to the hospital in Barrie and determined he had some kind of brain bleed, and he was transported to the hospital in Toronto.”

The team said that the 25-year-old Cave is currently in the critical care unit at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. His agent, Jason Davidson, confirmed to Sportsnet’s Mark Spector, that this is not related to the COVID-19 pandemic and Cave was not involved in an accident.

Cave, who was acquired by the Oilers via waivers in Jan. 2019, has 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.

UPDATE: The Oilers say Cave is out of emergency surgery where doctors removed a colloid cyst that was causing pressure on his brain. He remains in a medically-induced coma.

UPDATE 4/9: Cave’s family released the following statement on Thursday:

Colby is still in a medically-induced coma. This is giving his brain time to heal and rest from all he’s been through. We would like to thank the Oilers organization, the entire hockey community, all of our friends, and family, and everyone who has shown us love and support.

We would like to send a big thank-you to Colby’s critical care team, neurosurgeons and nurses at Sunnybrook Hospital. We appreciate all that you are doing for our Colby.

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

Boko Imama fought Brandon Manning in first AHL meeting since racist incident

Bokondji “Boko” Imama and Brandon Manning dropped the gloves during their first AHL meeting since Manning was suspended five games for uttering a racial slur at Imama. As you can see from the video above, Imama ended up winning that fight with Manning.

Imama wins fight with Manning, has quite the night

Imama didn’t just win that fight; his team also won the game. In fact, Imama’s Ontario Reign set a franchise record by beating Manning’s Bakersfield Condors 10-3.

Imama generated a “Gordie Howe hat trick” with a goal, assist, and that fight. With all of that in mind, it’s not too surprising to see Imama beaming (and distracted) in a postgame interview:

Imama didn’t directly address the Manning fight there, but perhaps he felt that his Jan. 22 statement was enough? Manning apologized via a statement on Jan. 21, noting that he had a chance to speak with Imama after the incident.

Of course, no win (in a fight or a game) erases what Manning said to Imama. It also won’t silence critics who believe that a five-game suspension wasn’t enough. Racism remains a problem in hockey, at the AHL and NHL levels, and beyond.

How NHL, AHL has handled past incidents, and potential future approaches

After all, we are only a few months removed from Bill Peters resigning as Calgary Flames head coach after Akim Aliu shared details about Peters’ racist remarks from their AHL past.

There have been several incidents that became public at the NHL level, too. Chris Simon was suspended three games for using a racial slur toward Mike Grier in 1997. The league suspended Krys Barch for an alleged comment toward P.K. Subban (one Barch denied). Players have also faced plenty of ugly racist incidents involving fans.

Back in December, the NHL detailed how it may handle future moments that “cross the line.” Time will tell if those changes end up being meaningful — Aliu seemed optimistic after a talk — but hopefully Friday gave Imama a measure of closure.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Fur was a-flyin’ as Teddy Bear Toss season gets under way

Hershey Bears
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December has arrived and that means it is Teddy Bear Toss season.

Truly the greatest time of year where hockey teams and their fans from all levels and all parts of the globe participate in a great charity effort. Once the home team scores, the fur starts flying down to the ice with numerous local organizations benefiting.

This past weekend we saw a trio of strong Teddy Bear Tosses.

First up, the the AHL’s Hershey Bears, who beat the Hartford Wolf Pack in overtime 4-3, but not before a world-record total of 45,650 stuffed animals were collected following Christian Djoos’ goal.

Bears fans delivered and surpassed the previous record total of 34,798 collected during the 2018 event. Over 40 charities will receive the stuffed animals, including schools, food banks, churches, lions clubs, as well as the Milton Hershey School, Children’s Miracle Network, and the American Cancer Society.

Heading out west and staying in the AHL, the Bakersfield Condors held their event on Saturday night and it was Josh Currie getting the party started late in the first period of a 3-1 victory in front of the fourth-largest crowd in team history.

Here’s the great Ryan Holt to take us through the Condors’ 21st Teddy Bear Toss goal:

The Condors announced on Monday that they collected 8,380 stuffed animals, which will be benefiting local children through the United Way of Kern County.

Staying out west, Carson Focht may have scored the most memorable goal of his career for the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen on Sunday afternoon. He only needed 94 seconds to open the scoring to allow the fans inside the Saddledome to toss their stuffed animals from everywhere.

The 25,025 teddy bears that were picked up will benefit 70 local charities with players distributing them on Monday, including a stop at Alberta Children’s Hospital. The Hitmen have been holding the annual event since 1995 and have now collected 402,608 stuffed animals in the last 24 years.

Finally, the WHL’s Vancouver Giants will be holding their Teddy Bear Toss this weekend, but they did release the jersey they’ll be wearing for two games and boy, are they in the holiday spirit.

Vancouver Giants

That’s one way to get festive, and a nice departure from he “ugly sweater” jerseys that have cropped up over the last few years.

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