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In this Nov. 2, 2019, file photo, Edmonton Oilers' Colby Cave (12) returns to the bench after scoring during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh.

The Associated Press

Emily Cave plans to have a special gift waiting for players when the Edmonton Oilers wrap up training camp.

Emily will be in attendance on Saturday when Edmonton concludes camp with an intersquad scrimmage paying tribute to her late husband and Oilers forward Colby Cave, who died in April after suffering a brain bleed.

Emily won’t be able to make direct contact with any of the players due to the physical distancing restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic. So she’s decided to leave a personal letter and token of appreciation in their stalls to show her appreciation and support for the team.

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“That’s my way of thanking them for the support they’ve given, wish them good luck and let them know Colby is proud of his teammates and brothers, and we can’t wait to cheer them on,” Emily said Friday on a conference call.

“Only Connor (McDavid) and (coach) Dave Tippett know what it’s going to be. It’s nothing big or anything like that. It’s just something special they can keep in their stall or that they can wear everyday.”

Saturday’s scrimmage will see all players wearing Cave’s No. 12, with the jerseys being auctioned at a later date to raise money for the Colby Cave Memorial Fund — a charity started in Colby’s honour that will have funds go towards community programs, with an emphasis on mental health initiatives and providing access to sports for underprivileged children.

“We are so excited to go and watch the game tomorrow. I was in tears the other night and had a moment, it hit me that this was the last time I’d see No. 12 on the ice,” said Emily.

Oilers coach Dave Tippett is also excited for the scrimmage before his team opens up a best-of-five play-in series against the Chicago Blackhawks on Aug. 1.

“We just thought this game would pay respect to him and his family. I think the players are looking forward to it. They respected everything Colby brought to this team.

“They want to see (the charity) help people that Colby would have wanted to help. It’s a very meaningful game for them.”

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The 25-year-old 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.

Emily says the Colby Cave Memorial Fund will be a major part of her life moving forward.

“The first thing I said was this foundation will give me a purpose to get out of bed in the morning and it’s going to keep Colby alive and his legacy alive. It allows me to share my incredible husband.”

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