When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and cancelled the American League season, Bakersfield Condors teammates Cooper Marody and Colby Cave said their goodbyes for the season. Nothing is ever guaranteed in pro hockey at the best of times and this was not the best of times. But Marody had every reason to believe that he and his teammate would be back playing together again soon.
He had no reason to think otherwise. He and Colby Cave were both young, talented, healthy men, prospects for the Edmonton Oilers who had every expectation that long hockey careers and lives were ahead of them. But less than a month later, Colby Cave would be in a coma with a brain bleed, a coma from which he would never recover. Cooper Marody mourned along with the hockey world when Cave died the morning of April 11.
So when Emily Cave, Colby Cave’s widow, approached Marody about writing a song to commemorate the relationship his friend and teammate had with his wife, Marody sprung into action. This would probably be a good time to let you know that hockey isn’t Marody’s only talent. He’s also an accomplished solo musician with two singles, I Don’t Deserve Her Yet and Behind Me, each of which has about 108,000 downloads on Spotify. Marody immediately began collaborating with his co-writers, Gavin Garris and Kyle Thomas, in Nashville and the world will see the end result Friday when Agape (pronounced Ah-gah-pay) is released, with all proceeds from the song going to the Colby Cave Memorial Fund.
“That was a tremendous honor for her to ask me to do that,” Marody told TheHockeyNews.com. “It came together so quickly and when it was done, we just thought it was Colby writing and singing it through us. The song is a love message from Colby to Emily. I really do believe that. We all just looked at each other in the room that day and said, ‘Wow, this is special.’ ” Emily apparently agreed, telling Marody after the first time she heard it that she could picture Colby saying all of the words that were in the song. “It just solidified our belief that it was him signing it right through us,” Marody said.
It may have sounded easy, but it wasn’t. Marody had lost a close friend and a teammate, too. In the time Colby was struggling for his life and then when he died, Marody was so shocked that he really didn’t even know how to put his grief into words. But he managed to find the words when he turned his attention to writing about Colby and Emily. Agape was chosen as the name of the song because that was a term Emily and Colby used with each other on a daily basis. It’s a word that has Greek origins and means the highest form of love. “When I was writing this song, it was never going to be about me,” Marody said. “I always looked at this song as me just being the messenger. Initially, the song was just for me to give to Emily to give her peace and I don’t know if I even had any intentions to release it, but talking Emily, she just wanted the love they had for each other to spread to the world.”
Marody is hoping it’s a message to which a lot of people can relate. And, obviously, he’s hoping that people download it en masse because the more it is downloaded, the more money it generates for the Colby Cave Memorial Fund, an initiative set up by Emily that will go toward community programs with an emphasis on mental health initiatives and providing access to sports for underprivileged children, two causes that were close to Colby Cave’s heart. “I do think it will make a big impact on people,” Marody said. “The few people I’ve shown, they were bawling and crying and they really felt something powerful with it. In the song, you’ll hear the audio of Colby reading his (wedding) vows and the last thing he said to Emily in his vows was Agape.”
As far as hockey is concerned, Marody is still singularly focused on playing in the best league in the world. And things looked great for that last season when he made his pro debut when he scored 19 goals and 64 points in 58 games with Bakersfield and earned a six-game stint with the Oilers. This year was not as bountiful. He struggled with 17 points in 30 games before an upper-body injury knocked him out of the lineup. He has been rehabbing the injury and feels ready to play. Whether the Oilers will use their expanded roster to have him with them in the playoffs remains to be seen.
So the music career will have to wait until Marody extracts everything he can from hockey. “Some people play video games, some people watch TV shows, read books, but I like to do music in my free time,” Marody said. “I want to keep working on my music and who knows? Maybe someday, when I’m done with hockey I can maybe focus on music even more, but right now I’m focused on playing hockey because I’ve worked my whole life to play in the NHL and I hope to be a longtime NHL player.”
Want more in-depth features, analysis and an All-Access pass to the latest content? Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.