The Backcheck: #OneKnight


Every week, Sportsnet’s  Eliotte Friedman writes a column called “30 Thoughts” and it’s basically the NHL article I look most forward to, as it gives—you guessed it—30 tidbits about the goings on the NHL based off of info Friedman has gotten from his sources.

In the past, former writer Justin Bourne wrote the second article I most looked forward to, “Thoughts on Thoughts” in which Bourne picked his five favorite Friedman thoughts and elaborated.

Unfortunately for those who loving reading Hockey articles—but fabulously for Justin Bourne himself—Bourne was hired by the Toronto Marlies as their video coach and so his article has ceased to exist.

However! As is the American way, I shall not let a good idea go to waste!  So for this column, “The Backcheck,” I am going to rip off Coach Bourne and basically co-opt his idea for’s purposes.

Each week, following Elliotte Friedman’s wonderful piece, I will go back (get it? Backcheck?) through—however many—tidbits that interested me and give my opinion on them. It may be five, like Bourne’s; it may be 1, who knows? Whatever topics need to be elaborated on shall be.

This week’s 30 Thoughts: It’s time to move on from the John Scott saga

Hutchinson and Kelsey Annese, who played for the women’s basketball team, were both victims of a double murder-suicide last weekend near the campus.

This is really the only point I want to touch on, and I’m really glad Friedman did as well. The rest of his article has, per usual, a lot of great tidbits and you can access his article in the link above, but this note on Matthew Hutchinson and Kelsey Annese is really the only thing deserving of more focus.

Over the weekend, SUNY Geneseo’s Men’s Hockey and Women’s Basketball teams suffered unimaginable losses, as both Matthew Hutchinson and Kelsey Annese were the victims of stabbings, which resulted in their deaths.

I first heard about this on Sunday, and I still don’t really know what to say, but I feel like I have to say something.

Obviously Matthew’s and Kelsey’s families…I mean, no one should ever have to lose a family member so young. This is just devastating. I cannot imagine if my sister…

I can’t even think about it.

As for the teammates of Matt and Kelsey…sports is a crazy environment, especially college sports. You go so quickly from not knowing any single one of them, to all of them being the most important people in your life.

A lot of people have best friends from certain areas. My best friends from high school or my best friends from summer camp but when you play sports, you don’t have your best friends from your team; you have your best friends.

The best friends I have in the entire world, I met in the locker room of Amelia Park before a hockey practice. One day I had no idea who they were; the next we were inseparable. And though it might sound cliché to people outside of athletics, those guys are not only my best friends; they are in the very truest sense of the word, my brothers. They are my family in any sense you can think of. When they were sad; I was sad. If they were going through a rough patch; I went through it with them. And vice versa. Without a doubt, the fondest memories I have in my life include those guys that I met in that room.

And to think that something like this could have happened to them. I don’t know how I would be able to cope.

And yet that is the task of the men and women of SUNY Geneseo. I’d like to tell them to be strong, I’d like to tell them that eventually they’ll be able to get along with their lives; but I really don’t know how I could do that. I don’t know if I could be strong in this situation. Not now, certainly. Not this soon.

But, what I do know is that they don’t have to be strong. It’s ok to be totally devastated. You just lost a brother, a sister. It’s ok to be…whatever you need to be, right now.

The only thing I can say to the Hockey players and Basketball players at Geneseo is that, whatever it is that you need to be—strong, devastated, whatever—you don’t have to do it alone. I urge you to lean on your teammates—your family—because sure enough, as much as you need to lean on them, they need to lean right back on you.

In 2003-04 I was a member of the Waterloo Wolves, an elite travel hockey team for boys 16-18 years old in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Tragically, we lost a teammate in early 2004. I remember, vividly, a lot about the day we found out and the weeks after, but what stands out most was our teammate’s wake.

All of us huddled around his coffin, arms linked, like it was one gigantic hug, our teammate in the middle. In that hug, each of us together was whatever we needed to be in that moment. Tearful, devastated, inconsolable, together. I can’t say for certain it made the loss of our teammate any easier, but I can say for certain that I wouldn’t have wanted to broach it without them.

Stick together, SUNY Geneseo.

Derek Stahl, Nate Brown, Brendan Flanagan, Matt Solomon, Brodie Tutton, RJ Burns, Connor Anthoine, Zach Lynes, Joe Serpico, Pat Condon, David Ripple, Anthony Marra, Stephen Collins, Trevor Hills, AJ Sgaraglio, Sotiris Athanasopoulos, Liam McDermott, Jack Ceglarski, Dennis Playfair, Matty Lee, Matt Leon, Devin McDonald, Bradley Hawayek, Arthur Gordon, Ryan Donnelly, Cam Hampson, Kayleigh Cavanaugh, Katie Durand, Dana Cohan, Andrea Bedard, Nicole Kaczmarczyk, Sam Barry, Kara Houppert, Katie Vienneau, Alyssa Lesakowski, Bridgit Ryan, Allison McKenna, Lea Sobieraski, Vanessa Wyckoff, McKenna Brooks, Coach Schultz,Coach Hemer,  Coach Heeres, Coach Stephens, Coach Perno, Coach Monahan, Coach Polosky, Coach McGinnis, Angelo Zegarelli.

Stick together.

No matter what has happened, no one can ever take away the fact that Matt and Kelsey were your teammates, your family. That bond will never be taken from you. Hold on to that.

Remember that and know that whatever it is you need to be, you don’t need to be alone.

Our thoughts are with you. #OneKnight.

What do you think?