Oilers honour memory of Colby Cave prior to first practice returning to play

Oilers honour memory of Colby Cave prior to first practice returning to play

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers returned to the ice Monday, but not before taking time to remember and pay tribute to teammate Colby Cave, who died in April after suffering a brain bleed.

“It’s the first time we’ve all been together in a big group since Colby passed. Obviously those emotions are still fresh,” team captain Connor McDavid told reporters on a Zoom call after practice at Rogers Place.

“It makes it even more real now that we’re all together and he’s not able to join us.

“He’s obviously going to be in our thoughts and in our hearts as we go forward.”

Cave, from Battleford, Sask., died April 11 in a Toronto hospital while in a medically induced coma following surgery to remove a colloid cyst that was causing pressure on his brain.

He played 67 career NHL games for the Boston Bruins and the Edmonton Oilers. The centre was called up for 11 games by the Oilers last season.

When the Oilers skated out before for their first official return to play practice, the scoreboard above centre ice displayed a picture of Cave in his orange Oiler uniform high-fiving fans beside the message “We Skate for Colby.”

Head coach Dave Tippett said the team held a meeting about Cave’s death prior to practice.

“Colby was an unbelievable young man, great teammate. Obviously a friend to everybody in our locker room,” said Tippett.

“He would be with us today if he hadn’t passed. He planned to be with our group (for the upcoming Stanley Cup tournament).

“He’s with us in spirit.”

The COVID-19 virus kept Cave’s wife Emily from his bedside and continues to cast a long shadow over the NHL as it prepares to finish the season with 24 teams playing in isolation in two hub cities: Edmonton and Toronto.

Players are allowed to opt out without sanction. Oiler defenceman Mike Green has already announced he will sit out, citing personal family health reasons.

Asked about it, Tippett said, “(The decision) didn’t catch me off guard.

“(Green) was really struggling with the decision, but he decided that for personal reasons with his family it was the best situation for him, and you have to respect that.

“This is unprecedented times. You’ve got to allow for flexibility.”

The first day of camp saw Ryan Nugent-Hopkins playing on a wing with Connor McDavid and Zack Kassian.

The Oilers open the best-of-five qualifying round Aug. 1 vs. the Chicago Blackhawks.

Their fortunes will rise or fall with McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, who was crowned the regular season scoring champ after the season was suspended March 12, around the 70-game mark.

Nugent-Hopkins said while on hiatus he used some weights from his brother, did some roller blading and then began skating once the smaller rinks opened up in British Columbia.

The tournament will be a whirlwind, sometimes with three games a day in each of the hub cities with no fans cheering them on.

Nugent-Hopkins said there won’t be any home ice advantage.

“We know it’s going to be intense,” he said.

“There’s going to be a lot of energy. Without the fans we’ll have to find ways to create our own energy.”

Kassian said the practices are critical because there is very little runway before the games resume.

“There’s no team that’s ahead of any other team in this thing. Whoever comes in and whoever competes the hardest, whoever gets off on the right foot is going to have the most success, especially in these best-of-five series,” he said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Rebels goalie Chase Coward tries to find a loose puck during WHL action at the Centrium earlier this season. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Changes on the horizon for Red Deer Rebels next season

New coach, roster adjustments among top priorities for Sutter this offseason

Renovations and construction have begun at Red Deer Dream Centre. (Photo contributed)
Renovations underway at Red Deer Dream Centre

Christian-based addictions treatment centre

Red Deer County's municipal planning commission gave approval for a new directional sign for a business located near Elnora.
(Image from Red Deer County)
Red Deer County garden centre and winery gets sign approved

Delidais Estate Winery and DA Gardens is located near Elnora

(Advocate file photo)
Red Deer County approves home-based hair salon

Salon would be located in rural residential area just west of Innisfail

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Here is a list of latest COVID-19 restrictions in effect in Alberta

New mandatory health restrictions are now in effect in Alberta. Additional restrictions… Continue reading

In this Thursday, May 14, 2020 photo, a doctor holds his stethoscope during a patient visit in Blackburn, England, amid the coronavirus pandemic. Doctors in British Columbia are being warned they could face investigation or penalties from their regulatory body if they contradict public health orders or guidance about COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Hannah McKay/Pool Photo via AP
B.C. doctors could face penalty for veering from COVID-19 health guidelines: college

B.C. doctors could face penalty for veering from COVID-19 health guidelines: college

A vial of the  AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. Alberta says it won't give out more first doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for the time being.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Hope for a good summer with one dose in arms, if we ‘crush’ COVID-19: Trudeau

Hope for a good summer with one dose in arms, if we ‘crush’ COVID-19: Trudeau

FILE-In this Wednesday, March 17, 2021 file photo, A make-shift memorial is seen outside a business where a multiple fatal shooting occurred on Tuesday, in Acworth, Ga. Robert Aaron Long, 22, accused of killing eight people, six of them women of Asian descent, in shootings at three Atlanta-area massage businesses was indicted Tuesday, May 11, 2021, on murder charges, and a prosecutor filed notice that she'll also seek hate crime charges and the death penalty. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File)
Prosecutor plans to seek death penalty in spa shootings

Prosecutor plans to seek death penalty in spa shootings

Labour Minister Harry Bains arrives at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, June 26, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. pledges to introduce permanent paid sick leave program in January

B.C. pledges to introduce permanent paid sick leave program in January

In this June 8, 2017, file photo, fresh nuts, bolts and fittings are ready to be added to the east leg of the pipeline near St. Ignace, Mich., as Enbridge prepares to test the east and west sides of the Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac in Mackinaw City, Mich. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Dale G Young/Detroit News via AP, File
‘Massive and potentially permanent disruption’: Canada’s bleak view of Line 5 closure

‘Massive and potentially permanent disruption’: Canada’s bleak view of Line 5 closure

A Suncor logo is shown at the company's annual meeting in Calgary, Thursday, May 2, 2019.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Oilsands producer Suncor and utility Atco to pursue ‘world-class’ hydrogen project

Oilsands producer Suncor and utility Atco to pursue ‘world-class’ hydrogen project

A street sign along Bay Street in Toronto's financial district is shown on Tuesday, January 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
North American stock markets rally to pare early losses over inflation concerns

North American stock markets rally to pare early losses over inflation concerns

This photo provided by World Food Prize shows Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted.  On Tuesday, May 11, 2021, Thilsted was named this year's recipient of the $250,000 World Food Prize, which was created by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Norman Borlaug in 1986 to recognize researchers who have improved the quality and availability of food. (Finn Thilsted/World Food Prize via AP)
World Food Prize goes to nutrition expert for fish research

World Food Prize goes to nutrition expert for fish research

Most Read