Wayne Gretzky was among the numerous former and current NHL players to send condolences to the family of Colby Cave, the Edmonton Oilers forward who died Saturday, four days after he had surgery to remove a colloid cyst that was causing pressure on his brain. He was 25.
Gretzky, the top scorer in NHL history and an Oilers executive, knew Cave, who was claimed by Edmonton on waivers Jan. 15, 2019.
Oilers captain Connor McDavid fondly remembered his former teammate for his energy and positivity.
Bruins forward David Pastrnak, who assisted on Cave's first NHL goal against the Montreal Canadiens on Dec. 17, 2018, remembered his friend.
Bruins defenseman Torey Krug, who was on the ice when Cave scored his first NHL goal, tweeted a video of the moment.
Cave, who was undrafted, scored one goal in 11 games with the Oilers this season and had 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists) in 44 games with Bakersfield of the American Hockey League. In three seasons with the Oilers and Bruins, he had nine points (four goals, five assists) in 67 NHL games.
"I'm very saddened by the news of Colby's passing this morning," Bruins center and former teammate Patrice Bergeron said. "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."
Veteran NHL forward Milan Lucic played with Cave in Edmonton during the 2018-19 season.
Oilers forward Tyler Benson played with Cave in the NHL and AHL this season and said he was heartbroken by the loss of his friend, whose locker was next to Benson's.
Florida Panthers forward Frank Vatrano was roommates with Cave in Providence during their time in the AHL.
Calgary Flames forward Austin Czarnik played with Cave in the NHL and AHL from 2015-18 and remembered him for his positivity.
Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk was Cave's teammate with Swift Current of the Western Hockey League for two seasons (2013-15) and the Bruins (2017-19).
"I'm so shocked and saddened to hear this horrible news," DeBrusk said. "It's hard to put my feelings into words. 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. Sending my deepest condolences to Emily and the Cave family. Rest in peace Colby."
New Jersey Devils defenseman Damon Severson, who grew up in Saskatchewan like Cave, called him "one of the best guys you'll ever meet."
Former Bruins teammates Anton Blidh and Ryan Donato shared photo tributes from their time with Cave.
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Blake Coleman said even those who never played with Cave respected him for the way he played.