Wheten has left a positive mark on football in Sault Ste. Married

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The local football community mourns the loss of one of their own this week after the tragic death of 20-year-old Matthew Wheten.Wheten, who played for the Sault Sabercats at the junior and college levels and also played local high school football at St. Mary’s College, died Wednesday of injuries he sustained in a single vehicle crash early Wednesday morning .

Wheten is remembered by those who play sports.

His personality is something of those of Sault Ste. Marie’s football community remembers well.

“He was always smiling and joking,” Sault Sabercats varsity coach Matt Premo said in an interview Friday afternoon. “He was one of those guys you really like being with. I will remember it the most.

“And he was a very good teammate,” added Premo. “He was really dedicated to the program (Sabercats) and loved football.”

Wheten left a positive mark on those he played with as well as the coaches he played for.

“He was a great kid,” Premo said. “He was very coachable. He was one of those guys who put the team first. Everything we asked him to do, he did. He was able to play several positions. We asked him to move positions where we needed him the most and he was always ready to step in and do it.

“He was just a great teammate,” added Premo. “Everyone in the team was drawn to him. He was really appreciated by his teammates. He’s always been very supportive of the other guys on the team.

Premo said he was “devastated” when he heard the news.

“I couldn’t even believe it at first,” added Premo. “I’m just heartbroken for his family. They are such a good family.

Wheten’s three brothers, Jeremy, Cody and Arron, all played soccer locally while their parents, Mike and Isabelle, also spent many hours participating in soccer programs.

“They are amazing people and my heart breaks for them,” Premo said.

Wheten’s death was greeted with a surge of support from the local football community.

“Some things in life will never make sense,” read the Sault Minor Football League Facebook page Thursday. “We are deeply saddened by the loss of a friend, teammate and brother in our football community. The Wheten family is an integral part of everything we do here with Sault Ste. Marie football. For several years, Matt was an SMFL player, with the Sault Sabercats and the Knights of St. Mary. The Sault Football community is a tight knit group, and now more than ever, we will be leaning on each other to support us.

Funeral arrangements had not been announced at the time of writing this Friday afternoon.

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