Twenty-four-year-old Geneseo senior and Ice Knight Matthew Hutchinson died on Jan. 17, leaving the surrounding community struggling with the loss of a teammate and friend. Better known as “Hutch,” Hutchinson began his Geneseo career in the fall of 2012 as a hockey recruit from Vancouver, British Columbia. At the time of his death, he was about to begin his final semester as a senior geography major and varsity hockey defenseman. He also served on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and worked as a volunteer fire fighter for the Geneseo Fire Department.
“Matt loved nothing more than being a fireman,” Hutchinson’s former girlfriend Emma Sykes ‘15 said. “It was what he always wanted to be. Money was never a factor.”
Hutchinson joined the fire department his first semester freshman year, giving an interview that Chief Andrew Chanler recalled as striking; particularly due to Hutchinson’s already active involvement on campus and with the Ice Knights.
“Matt was all in. When he was all in, he would do it as if it were second nature,” Chanler said. “That was remarkable and you could see that right from the beginning.”
Although Chanler noted that many stories have stuck with him from the years he worked with Hutchinson, there is one particular favorite memory that he recalled.
“Last February, we were helping the Livonia Fire Department with a house fire. The call had come in about an hour and a half after the Ice Knights finished their game,” Chanler said. “Yet, behind the house, atop a ladder was Matt. He was just out on the ice but he changed and came to this job in a matter of minutes. He was always engaged in both teams.”
Hutchinson not only participated in extracurricular activities but also in his academics, impressing professors and fellow classmates with his desire to learn. At the remembrance ceremony for Hutchinson and senior Kelsey Annese held on Jan. 20, associate professor of geography David Robertson said that Hutchinson was the type of student that faculty adore.
“There are now about seven guys on the hockey team who are geography majors,” Ice Knight senior forward and Hutchinson’s close friend AJ Sgaraglio added. “I believe he started that trend. He loved it.”
Hutchinson served not only his community and campus as a volunteer and athlete, but was also a genuine friend with a signature personality.
“One thing, he would always cry—he would laugh so hard he would cry,” Sgaraglio said. “He would get so happy that he’d cry. That is how happy he was all time.”
Sykes recalled similar moments expressing Hutchinson’s extraordinary level of compassion and concern for the people closest to him. “Matt would sit me down and talk about how much he loved his friends,” Sykes said. “How much he cared about them … and he would get very emotional.”
Hutchinson’s devotion to his friends has left them with memories that will remain beyond his passing.
“We’d be sitting on the couch next to each other and then realize we were almost in each other’s laps and have to scoot away,” Sgaraglio said. “I would also always find him passed out in my bed and when I kicked him out, he’d be asleep on my floor in the morning on his mattress that he dragged in.”
With this love and camaraderie in mind, Sgaraglio and Ice Knights captain senior forward Ryan Donnelly plan to drive Hutchinson’s truck back to Vancouver at the end of the semester.
Hutchinson’s mother and father visited Geneseo on the weekend of Friday Jan. 22, meeting with the teammates, faculty and friends who cherished Hutchinson’s life so much.
“He has changed us for the better,” Sgaraglio said. “He was truly a man.”