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FEATURE: Playing For Colby

The Oilers honoured Colby Cave in a scrimmage on Saturday, and will continue to going forward

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - Emily, Allan, Jennifer and Taylor Cave.

The community of North Battleford, the province of Saskatchewan and the country of Canada.

The Edmonton Oilers, Bakersfield Condors, Boston Bruins and Swift Current Broncos. The entire National Hockey League, American Hockey League and Western Hockey League. The hockey world and the universe of sports as a whole.

We all skate for Colby Cave.

On Saturday, his No. 12 jersey animated on the ice at Downtown Community Arena where the Oilers hosted the Colby Cave Memorial Fund Scrimmage.

Video: 1-ON-1 | Emily Cave

It was silent in the arena when Team White and Team Orange stepped onto the ice. The two groups converged at centre before puck drop, lifting their sticks to Emily, who stood watching.

"Colb would be incredibly honoured," she said. 

"I know Colb is so proud of his teammates. He's proud of his coaches and for them to put this together is remarkable."

Colby passed away suddenly and tragically on April 11, but because of the kind and generous human he was, will live forever through legacy. 

There is nothing the Edmonton Oilers organization won't do to keep Colby's spirit alive: Players are wearing his No. 12 decal on their helmets; Bakersfield Condors forward Cooper Marody took Colby's words and wedding vows to produce the song 'Agape'; and of course, there's the Colby Cave Memorial Fund, which Emily will work closely with to ensure her husband's passion for people and sports carries on.

Video: HIGHLIGHTS | Colby Cave Game

"The saying, 'Once an Oiler, always an Oiler,'" Emily said.

"They've taken me under their wing. That's another thing Colby would be so proud of."

Colby left an indelible mark on the people he encountered over his life and career. A product of North Battleford, he kept community, family and friends close to his heart but showed the same respect for others. 

In the Oilers dressing room, Colby could be found in his stall with a smile on his face, ready for any conversation with any media member. On the ice, it was never an uncommon sight to see the forward down at the bench during warmups, chatting with minor hockey players.

Colby's love for children is why the Cave Memorial Fund will emphasize granting access to sports for underprivileged youths.

"He would have been an incredible dad," Emily said. "I'm looking forward to the kids that he's going to help through his legacy and character, and help provide them with access to sports to help change their lives. 

"One day they'll make it to the NHL or they'll make it to the NFL and be able to do that because of Colb's legacy."

Colby called Emily his 'little world changer' because of her grandiose ideas to assist others. The Colby Cave Fund is an extension of that and will also focus on mental health initiatives.

"One dream of mine is to have a children's unit that specializes in mental health and call it 'The Cave Man's Corner,'" Emily said. "Kids can go play with toys or have a place to go. That was something Colby would love to do."

The impression Colby left on his teammates, whether with the Bakersfield Condors or Edmonton Oilers, was profound. His happy nature and compassion was a benefit to his squad at all times but especially for the rookies and sophomores.

Video: OILERS TODAY | For Colby 07.23.20

"When I was with Bakersfield, I was fortunate enough to get to know him fairly well," said Kailer Yamamoto. "He would bring over Emily and his dog, and he would just be ripping around all over the house and Colby would get mad at him. 

"He was the best person that I have ever met."

Defenceman Matt Benning also cherished his friendship with Colby over their time with the Bruins and Oilers organizations. An "unbelievable human" is how the defender described Colby. 

"We miss him," Benning said. 

"We talked as a group and want to do something special here. He'll be right there with us."

In sports, emotional events such as Colby's passing can become driving forces behind a team. The Oilers are keeping their former teammate near and dear to their hearts and know they'll be playing for him when the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers begin.

"Colby's always in everybody's thoughts," Oilers Head Coach Dave Tippett affirmed.

That compassion is felt by Emily. She plans on leaving a note in each and every players' stall to thank them for honouring her husband.

"His teammates are grieving, his coaches are grieving and the city is grieving as well," she said. 

"I know they're playing for him, not just on Saturday but for playoffs, and they're going to do an incredible job." 

Before the players exited the ice after the scrimmage, they congregated in the corner of the rink and saluted Emily. She knows Colby was there witnessing it with her and will be watching every step of the way as the club embarks on the post-season.

"Colb would totally be up there like, 'This is too much guys, I don't deserve this (laughing),'" she said.

"His legacy and the impact he made on people just shows and radiates through."

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