Hockey fans paid their respects to Colby Cave in an awesome way Monday ... lining up cars for over 9 MILES to welcome the player's family back to his hometown after his tragic death.
As we previously reported ... the 25-year-old Edmonton Oilers center suffered a brain bleed early last week -- and despite emergency surgery, he passed away on Saturday.
On Monday, his family returned to North Battleford in Saskatchewan with a law enforcement escort ... and the love people showed the Cave fam on their way home was pretty amazing.
Fans parked their cars all along the shoulder of Highway 16 -- despite snow and freezing temps -- and displayed their appreciation for the Caves all along the route with signs and cheers.
In fact, former Oilers defenseman Eric Gryba even participated ... taking a selfie in front of the cars and writing, "a heartbreaking and heartwarming time."
Supposedly there is 15km+ of cars lined up outside Battleford right now waiting for the family of Colby Cave. A heartbreaking and heartwarming time. pic.twitter.com/wquvx7vqVP— Eric Gryba (@grybes02) April 13, 2020
Supposedly there is 15km+ of cars lined up outside Battleford right now waiting for the family of Colby Cave. A heartbreaking and heartwarming time. pic.twitter.com/wquvx7vqVP
"Over 15km of parked cars welcoming Colby's parents and sister home to North Battleford," Cave's wife, Emily, said of the scene. "Unfortunately, I had to stay behind with Colby's body in Ontario."
"My heart is broken. My heart is full. North Battleford, thank you for honoring your hometown hockey hero."
Cave grew up playing hockey in North Battlefield before he eventually moved on to the NHL as an undrafted player in 2015.
He went on to play in 67 career NHL games ... scoring 4 goals and logging 5 assists.