GENESEO, N.Y. (WIVB) — SUNY Geneseo senior Matthew Hutchinson, or “Hutch” as he was known around campus, excelled on the ice for the Knights until his life was cut short in a violent double-murder suicide in January.
And though he’s no longer physically a part of this team, his spirit has guided the Knights to what’s been a miraculous season.
“We’ve banded together and we’re playing good hockey right now,” said men’s hockey coach Chris Schultz.
In order to find the success they’ve experience, they had little choice.
Hutchinson, 24, was killed in mid-January by Colin Kingston. Police say a jealous Kingston broke into his ex girlfriend’s house, and killed her and Hutchinson, and then turned the knife on himself.
It was horrific news for the team to start their spring semester.
“It’s been a story where we go from tragedy to triumph,” said sophomore forward Sotiri Athanasopoulos. “We’ve really taken all this sadness and really made good out of it.”
“There no manual for it,” Schultz said. “We just kind of had to figure out how to get these guys going in the right direction.”
Schultz has been forced to figure out how to approach a group of young men, looking to him for answers.
“Everyday that we’ve walked into this room since the day of the event, our guys have been all in,” he said. “And I can’t say enough about how our guys have honored his memory.”
They’ve kept Hutchinson’s locker the same as he left it; jersey, skates, stick. And they’ve added things too, like the SUNYAC trophy, and a journal, so players can leave notes for their fallen teammate.
“It’s lot only a sign of respect towards him a and his family, and what he brought to the town, but it’s to remind us and to see him everyday and have a bit of him with us,” Athanasopoulos said.
Players and coaches, even the community, have drawn on each other’s strengths. Mostly because they had little other choice.
“It’s been a long two months,” Schultz said. “If it wasn’t for my players, I don’t know what I’d be doing. I drew on their strength. There was a lot of acting. We relied on each other the last two months.
The Knights depart from Geneseo Wednesday for the D-III Frozen Four in Lake Placid. As its been all season, Hutch’s presence will play a major role for players and coaches.