This exceptional builder of sport began his over half a century of involvement in hockey as a player with Port Arthur junior and senior teams during the 1950s and 60s. A natural athlete he also made a name for himself on local diamonds, playing for a variety of teams including the Lakehead Senior baseball championship title winning Port Arthur Red Sox.
Moving up through the ranks with the Port Arthur North Stars and Bearcats, he became a defensive stand out and natural leader, serving as captain of both squads and earning top defenceman honours. In addition to helping the Bearcats claim multiple district titles, he also served as a member of the 1961-62 squad that represented Canada with distinction by winning the Ahearne Cup, emblematic of European ice hockey supremacy.
His close to twenty year coaching career began in 1964 when the Port Arthur North Stars entrusted their club to the young coach who guided the team to the Thunder Bay District junior title in his rookie season. In his third year behind the bench he led the Port Arthur Marrs to the Western Canada title and the 1967 Memorial Cup national junior finals against the Toronto Marlboros.
Throughout the rest of the 1960s and into the 70s, he continued to help develop a number of future NHL players, and serve as a role-model for future coaches, while claiming junior league titles with the Marrs and teams such as the Vulcans, Junior Stars and Case Eagles.
Moving into the senior ranks, he coached the Thunder Bay Twins from 1978-81 leading them to victory in the Ontario Hockey Association Senior league and competing in Allan Cup playdowns. Turning to the administrative side of the sport, he served as President of Port Arthur Junior Hockey and the Thunder Bay Twins during the 1980s, and as a director and shareholder with the Thunder Bay Thunder Hawks, Senators and Cats throughout the 1990s, providing local hockey fans with access to top-level hockey.
The mark of a truly inspirational coach is not just the number of games and titles they have won, it is also the lives they have influenced along the way. In the case of Albert 'Ab' Cava, his legacy rests with the number of players he helped develop that went on to enjoy successful professional hockey careers and the many coaches he impacted by serving as a mentor and positive role-model.
Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 30th, 2017