Remembering CapGeek founder & sports journalist Matthew Wuest
Matthew Wuest is being remembered as someone who was incredibly talented, but also incredibly humble. The Halifax sports writer and founder of CapGeek died yesterday in Halifax, two-and-a-half years after being diagnosed with colon cancer. He was 36.
Wuest was a sports writer for the newspaper Metro Halifax, but in his spare time, he created and ran CapGeek, a successful website dedicated to tracking the contracts of every NHL player and the salary cap of every NHL team.
“Matt created this website which allowed sports fans to basically play General Manager, and play out all kinds of scenarios with roster management and trades, and it became an essential part of the experience, where you could really be involved in crafting these teams that you were watching, and it became hugely popular. I think it fundamentally altered the experience of being a hardcore hockey fan,” says Paul McLeod.
McLeod is currently the Ottawa bureau chief for The Chronicle Herald, but he became friends with Wuest when the two were writing for the now-defunct Halifax newspaper The Daily News.
“The thing we’re all consoling ourselves with, or trying to, is that he really did love hockey and he transformed this game that he loved in his few decades on this earth and I think that’s something not a lot of people can say,” says McLeod.
“To get this diagnosis at such a young age, it just strikes everyone as so staggeringly unfair.”
McLeod says CapGeek was often referenced by sports reporters and likely also by General Managers when they were trying to make their salary calculations.
Though Wuest could have garnered a lot of attention for CapGeek, he was instead quite modest about founding and managing the site.
“This is just so classic Matt. He never wanted any attention in the slightest when it came to this kind of stuff. Probably a couple of years into working with him I had no idea he was the guy behind CapGeek until another colleague started making jokes and giving him the gears one day because he was ranked as one of the 100 most influential people in hockey by The Hockey News. I was blown away. Matt had been doing this in his spare time on the side and revolutionizing the game of hockey and never once brought it up.”
He says the last time they saw each other was about a year ago. McLeod remembers watching a football game. He says even though Wuest was fighting cancer, he was in good spirits and never wanted anyone to feel sorry for him.
McLeod says he’ll remember him as a fun and funny guy who helped him out in his career - someone he describes as “quietly brilliant.”