Colby Cave played a game on Feb. 21 for the Edmonton Oilers against the Minnesota Wild. 11 shifts spread out over eight and a quarter minutes, Cave recorded zero points while grinding away for the fourth line unit.
It would be his last game. Early Saturday morning, the 25-year-old Oilers center died, the result of a brain bleed he experienced earlier in the week. According to the ESPN article, Cave was flown to the hospital on Tuesday as a cyst was causing pressure on his brain. Emily, Colby’s wife asked her followers on Instagram for a miracle, one that didn’t arrive. The sadder news, located in the piece linked above, is that Emily couldn’t be with her husband during his final days due to COVID_19 rules. Utterly tragic.
25 years old. That’s too damn young for any man or woman to depart this rock. If there was ever a reminder that your time is limited here no matter your physical and mental condition, Cave’s passing should shake and rattle you. He was born during Brett Hull’s prime in St. Louis. That’s how young he is. It’s just not fair but if there was a time period to spell unfair life terms with, it’d be right now in our world.
The truth is I didn’t know much about Cave before his death, further proof that I need to open my eyes more with other teams. He was one of the one jerseys flying around the ice when Edmonton played the Blues that I only paid attention to if it affected St. Louis’ outcome. Outside of that, he was just another player.
But Connor McDavid, one of the best players in the game, called Cave one of the toughest guys he knows. That instantly reminded me of when Leonardo DiCaprio called Luke Perry one of the best people he’s ever worked with while making “Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood.” Perry died at the age of 52 due to a massive a seizure after filming but before the release. He was in the movie for less than five minutes, but made a dent. Cave only recorded 67 NHL games and tallied just nine points, but he made a dent with the right people.
It’s true. People die every time. They’re dying right now. But there’s always something doubly heart-wrenching about a young man or woman meeting their end too early. It’s just not right. Cave was married and had the best job in the world, but had more to do here. There should have been more time on the clock.
Right now, it’s easy to finally not take things for granted. Surrounded by a pandemic that is going to leave a mark on our lives no matter end it meets, people have realized what they have and weren’t paying attention to. Life can move quick, so attention to detail can be fleeting. I’ve gotten to have my time with my wife and son, more time to hang out and experience things together. A silver lining if there ever was one, something that I know isn’t permanent.
Cave’s passing should teach you to live up every minute of every day, quarantine or not. Don’t take tomorrow for granted, because next week is even available yet.
Some would ask me why I wrote about a player who didn’t play for the Blues and that I barely knew a thing about. I would tell them the same thing I told comedy fans after Brody Stevens died last year: you don’t have to know someone or much about them in order to sad they didn’t get more time. Cave’s passing made me sad and when I get that way, the only way I can shed it is to crack open a beer and hit the keyboard like a punching bag. I did it after my father-in-law recently passed away and will do it again unfortunately, hopefully not too soon.
There were people who depended on and loved Cave, a guy who looked like he was a good person. That is gone and it’s a sad day in the NHL.
Thanks for reading. I hope you found some meaning in my rambling.