June 8, 1986|
Angola, New York, U.S.
|Height||6 ft 1 in (185 cm)|
|Weight||206 lb (93 kg; 14 st 10 lb)|
|Played for||Buffalo Sabres|
176th overall, 2004|
Patrick Kaleta (born June 8, 1986) is an American former professional ice hockey right winger who played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Buffalo Sabres from 2006 until 2015. He was drafted by the Sabres in the sixth round, 176th overall, of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.
Kaleta grew up in the Buffalo suburb of Angola and played most of his minor hockey with Hamburg Hawks and the West Seneca Wings, also playing high school hockey for St. Francis HS in Athol Springs. It was there he was discovered by the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), who selected him in the second round, 31st overall, in the 2002 OHL Priority Draft.
Kaleta spent his major junior ice hockey career with Peterborough, where he compiled 147 points and 460 penalty minutes over four seasons. In the 2006 OHL playoffs, Kaleta scored eight goals and ten assists as the Petes reached the 2006 Memorial Cup. Kaleta signed his first professional contract in June 2006 with the Buffalo Sabres, the organization that drafted him two years prior in 2004, 176th overall.
On February 21, 2007, partway through his first professional season, Kaleta was called up from the American Hockey League (AHL)'s Rochester Americans by his parent club in Buffalo. In his first NHL game on February 22, 2007, against the Ottawa Senators, Kaleta earned his first NHL point, an assist on a goal by Clarke MacArthur, and his first NHL fight against Ottawa's Chris Phillips. The game is best known as a brawl broke out which included Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff and Bryan Murray fighting from the benches. Kaleta scored his first career NHL goal on February 10, 2008, against the Florida Panthers.
Kaleta recorded his first two-goal game on December 12, 2009, against the New York Rangers, a 3–2 Buffalo victory. He scored the game-winner on a short-handed breakaway, beating Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist high on the glove side.
Kaleta has earned a reputation as a hard hitter, usually playing on the Sabres' fourth line along with the team's enforcers (Andrew Peters and Adam Mair during their time in Buffalo, and later Cody McCormick and John Scott). Kaleta describes his style as such: "I try to play a clean, hard-nosed game. A lot of people don't like that."
Kaleta is just the third (depending on definition) native of the Buffalo Niagara Region to play for the hometown Sabres in the regular season. Buffalo's Peter Ciavaglia played in five games between 1991 and 1993, Scott Thomas played 39 games for the Sabres between 1992 and 1994 and South Buffalo native Tim Kennedy joined the Sabres after Kaleta. (Although Marcus Foligno was born in Buffalo, he spent most of his childhood in his father's hometown of Sudbury, Ontario.) Of these, Kaleta has spent the most time and played the most games for Buffalo.
Early in the 2011–12 season, on November 3, 2011, Kaleta was suspended for four regular season games for a head-butt on Philadelphia Flyers forward Jakub Voráček. This marked the third time in less than two seasons that Kaleta was caught head-butting.
On March 3, 2013, Kaleta hit New York Rangers forward Brad Richards into the boards from behind. Kaleta was assessed a five-minute boarding major and a game misconduct. Due to repeat offenses, Kaleta was handed a five-game suspension from the League the next day.
On October 13, 2013, Kaleta made an illegal check to the head on Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson. Kaleta was not penalized on the play, but was later given a ten-game suspension by the NHL Department of Player Safety.
On November 2, 2013, after failing to find a trading partner and the end of the suspension, the Sabres placed Kaleta on waivers. General manager Darcy Regier implied the NHL had pressured the Sabres to expel Kaleta from the league. Kaleta cleared waivers and was assigned to the Rochester Americans, where he was to remain until, as Regier put it, he made "significant changes to his playing style". Shortly after his arrival in Rochester, Kaleta injured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), ending his season.
By March 2014, the point at which Kaleta's injury had healed enough to begin skating again (and by which point Regier had been dismissed), Sabres head coach Ted Nolan brought Kaleta back to the Sabres practices and gave him a locker in the Sabres' locker room.
Kaleta was slated to return to the Sabres for the 2014–15 season, but sustained a broken face and possible concussion after getting hit with a puck during a pre-season contest on September 28, 2014.
After the Sabres changed management in the 2015 off-season, the team did not extend Kaleta's contract, despite Kaleta's desire to return. He eventually agreed to a one-year deal with the team's AHL affiliate, the Americans, and a $500 professional tryout offer for the Sabres' pre-season. Kaleta was named the Rochester Americans 2015–16 Man of the Year, in recognition of his contributions to the community and local charities.
Upon the expiration of his previous contract, Kaleta changed agents and expressed a desire to pursue free agency, but if he does not sign with an NHL team, he will likely retire from the sport. On November 17, 2016, Kaleta opted to remain within the Sabres organization, accepting a position as a youth hockey ambassador. Kaleta currently coaches the Buffalo Jr. Sabres 13U team.
- YouTube - Pat Kaleta's First NHL Goal with goal announced
- "Buffalo's Patrick Kaleta receives four-game suspension". National Hockey League. 2011-11-03. Retrieved 2011-11-03.
- Hoppe, Bill (November 2, 2013). Sabres waive Patrick Kaleta to make room for Corey Tropp, John Scott calls out Pierre McGuire. Olean Times Herald. Retrieved November 2, 2013.
- Hoppe, Bill (March 9, 2014). Sabres newcomer Cory Conacher OK’d number with Patrick Kane; Patrick Kaleta skating again. Olean Times Herald. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
- Hoppe, Bill (October 16, 2014). Sabres notes: Patrick Kaleta back practicing, anxious to return. Olean Times Herald. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
- Hoppe, Bill (September 4, 2015). Patrick Kaleta staying positive, wants to return to Sabres. Olean Times Herald. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
- "Amerks sign Patrick Kaleta to AHL contract". buffalohockeybeat.com. 2015-09-03. Retrieved 2015-09-03.
- "Former Sabres agitator Patrick Kaleta working on new opportunity". buffalohockeybeat.com. 2016-06-07. Retrieved 2016-06-07.
- "Sabres hire Kaleta as youth hockey ambassador". Sabresdigitalpressbox.com. 2016-11-17. Retrieved 2016-11-17.