They were different men at different stages of their personal lives and professional careers. No matter.
With last week’s too-soon deaths of Allan Rowe, the longtime Global television anchor turned MLA, and Matthew Wuest, the former Halifax Metro sports journalist and founder of the legendary Capgeek hockey insider’s website, the local journalism community is a lesser place.
Rowe, 58, died Monday following an aneurysm; Wuest, just 35, succumbed Thursday after a two-and-a-half-year struggle with colon cancer.
They were each professional storytellers, but their own stories were compelling too.
Rowe’s journalistic career began in 1982 when he was assigned to cover the sinking of the Ocean Ranger off Newfoundland. All 84 workers had died. Before he’d switched to journalism, Rowe worked as a roughneck aboard the Ocean Ranger, and many of those deaths he had to report on “were close friends of mine.”
Wuest, for his part, was a computer science grad who switched to journalism because computer science turned out to be “not very fun.”
He became the Halifax Mooseheads beat reporter. But in 2009, on a whim, he employed his computer science smarts to create a simple salary cap calculator to determine whether his beloved Detroit Red Wings could afford to sign Marian Hossa.
Fans asked him to design similar calculators for their teams, and Capgeek was born. Within two years, The Hockey News named Wuest one of hockey’s 100 most influential people, and his site boasted four million hits a day during the NHL’s peak signing/trading deadline frenzies.
Ironically, the first time many people knew Wuest had created the popular website came in January when he quietly announced he was shutting it down because of his deteriorating health.
That was something else about both Wuest and Rowe. In a business with more than its share of egos, they were both self-effacing good guys.
AllNovaScotia.com reporter Devin Stevens, who says Rowe hired him “when he didn’t have to,” remembers trying to say thanks when he was about to leave for another job. “Humble to a fault,” Stevens explains, “he wouldn’t have it. I would have made it anyway, he said. That’s the kind of guy Allan was.”
Two good guys. Two good journalists. They will be missed. RIP.