CapGeek, for those who might have somehow escaped ever using the site, was a very coherent league wide database that kept track of contract deals, trade clauses, cap hits and just about every other contract related information anyone could ever be looking for. It became known as the way to be an “armchair GM”, and allowed us the insight of predicting trades for the upcoming season, analyzing a player’s contract in light of a team and in light of their play, and really understanding just how the Salary Cap was changing the NHL.
It was always sort of a resource for us, that I’m not sure many who utilized it knew or understood what sort of level of dedication went in to maintaining it, because Wuest never really let it show. It became extremely evident when, on January 3rd, 2015, CapGeek had posted public notification that they would be unfortunately permanently closing their site due to Wuest’s illness (He had been battling colon cancer for about two years at that point).
I find myself still regularly saying “Let me look up when that contract ends on—“, typing in the beginning of a web address to a no longer active website. But this is not the only legacy Wuest leaves behind. What we all started missing then was not only a great resource in the site, but a positive hockey-community presence in Wuest.
I can only really speak for what I was able to experience first-hand from twitter interactions with Wuest, but it was more than evident this evening that the interactions I had with him rang true for quite a few others, as the out-pour of grief and condolences and memories came streaming with the breaking of the news of his passing, turning him into a trending topic.
Wuest was a very kind soul. I’m not going to lie, when the Salary Cap was first introduced to the NHL, I had minimal understanding of it. I had constant questions which I attempted to research independently, that when that proved ineffective, Wuest graciously fielded from me and countless confused others who reached out in a similar capacity. He never made me feel ridiculous for asking questions, and actually seemed to welcome them in hopes that understanding and transparency would strengthen the fan-base through accessibility. If more could be half as welcoming and patient and informative as Wuest, I have a feeling no one would ever leave the hockey community.
Our condolences go out to Wuest’s family and loved ones. Wuest is survived by his wife, Melanie Patten.
Kristen Lipscombe of the Metro News wrote a beautiful article detailing Wuest’s accomplishments both with CapGeek and elsewhere.
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