On Thursday morning, CapGeek founder Matthew Wuest passed away after a long battle with colon cancer. He was only 36 years old. Metro Halifax Canada reported the sad news.
— Metro Halifax (@metrohalifax) March 20, 2015
Wuest was a pioneer of the blossoming analytics movement in the hockey world. He had written for the Halifax Metro, The Hockey News, and his own website, CapGeek. His tremendous website made available the type of salary and contract information that remains unmatched in the industry.
As per Kristen Lipscombe, Halifax Metro editor Philip Croucher said:
He was just a great guy who really loved what he did…I’ve never seen anyone do it better.
On his personal blog, James Mirtle offered a touching memoriam for Wuest.
Often my emails to him over the years were simply requests for obscure information. One year I did a story on Jamie McGinn getting sent down and recalled over and over and over again, and Matt provided a list of the players recalled the most that season (McGinn was first, with 14 recalls by mid-March).
No one else had that kind of data, that fast. No one else was as prompt or willing to help, either.
And if Matt ever needed to clarify something, especially with the Leafs, he would often touch base, and I was happy to help.
Clearly, Mirtle and CapGeek’s Wuest had a strong working relationship.
One of the most striking parts of the remembrance comes at the start of Mirtle’s writing:
I never met Matt Wuest in person, but we had intended to at some point. We had talked on email starting back in 2009 and, later, on Twitter DMs all the time. Probably at least once every week or two.
After a while of doing that, you feel like you know someone.
The two had never even met. Collaborated? Sure. But never shook hands or shared a chat over coffee.
In our new hockey world, filled with analytics, blogs, and Twitter, this connection shows just how amazingly connected the online hockey world has become. Mirtle’s remembrance notes for us too that the many online conversations, collaborations, favourites, and retweets really do tie hockey people together in real relationships.
Wuest’s passing gives us a chance to pay respects to the man behind CapGeek and to ponder the real people behind our online conversations and work.
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) March 9, 2015
Though Wuest’s passing is tragic, his battle with colon cancer should remind the hockey community of the need to battle cancer.
“[NHL General Managers] have high profiles…So if you can help, whether through a message you make or through your organization to help people, there’s so many people affected, so many young people affected. I think we have an obligation to give any advice or any help that we can.
These words should motivate cancer awareness, routine checkups, and lending a hand or a little money for research any time you have the chance.
I didn’t know Matthew Wuest. I offer my sincere condolences to his family anyway.
I don’t know Bryan Murray either. But I’ll take personally his message about cancer awareness, early detection, and the obligation to help anyway.
On days like these, we remember that life is much bigger than the game that draws us together.