Remembering CapGeek – gone but never forgotten

As the tributes continue to pour in for CapGeek founder Matthew Wuest who passed away Thursday, I’m noticing a trend among the multitude of articles that I have been reading.

Many of the stories that I have read start off with “I never met Matthew, but…”

Count me as one of the endless plethora of hockey minded-people – whether fans, reporters, coaches, general managers, players, all of the above – who never had the pleasure of shaking his hand person, but truly appreciated how invaluable his contributions to the game were.

Anyone who has ever visited his website, which ceased to become operational in January after his health took a turn for the worse, was marveled by its resourcefulness. Everything from player summary information to buyout calculators was available to anyone from the casual fan to the die-hard armchair critic.

Indeed the website was incredibly convenient to have at your disposal.

But as I read more about Matthew, the man, what strikes me most is his humility.

Every story I have read, every word that I’ve been told, mentioned how much he stayed away from the limelight. Very few people knew his name until 24 hours ago. Even in his home province of Nova Scotia, friends who would discover his identity would say “THAT’s who CapGeek is??”

When TSN reported the news of his passing, the news anchor incorrectly pronounced his last name as “west” instead of “weest”. That’s not a knock against the network, it’s an honest mistake. It just exemplifies how anonymous the man was, despite having a huge impact on a legion of hockey lovers.

CapGeek made the website all about his product, and not about him. His work was impeccable and thorough.

I covered the press conference of the Dion Phaneuf trade to Toronto in 2010. As we waited for then-GM Brian Burke to take the podium, a veteran reporter queried the gathered pool: “What’s Phaneuf’s cap hit?” Having slightly quicker fingers, I brought up my favourite resource on my moblie device.

“Six years, $6.5 million (at the time), and that’s from CapGeek,” I answered. I wasn’t second-guessed.

Journalists always check multiple sources, but on the fly, on a deadline, if your only source was CapGeek, you felt safe. That’s how it was.

I regret never having met him. Though from the scores of accolades that have been pouring in, it’s clear that as much of a pioneer he was, he was an even better person.

I can only offer my deepest condolences and prayers to his family, especially his wife Melanie Patten.

To his Kings College (Halifax) classmate Kristen Lipscombe, who broke the news of Matthew’s passing to thousands if not millions of devastated followers, and who frequently described him as “another brother” to her, my thoughts are with you.

To his friends and colleagues, you have my sympathies.

The world has lost a shining light.

“But without the dark, we’d never see the stars.” (a quote from Kristen’s Facebook profile).


Rob Del Mundo is the author of Off The Post, and is a regular columnist at TMLfans.ca

Follow TMLfans.ca on Twitter: @Rob_DelMundo

A donation in Matthew Wuest’s name can be made to ColonCancerCanda.ca

Here’s a sample of the hockey world’s reaction to Matthew Wuest’s passing: