Kaleb Toth owns the Calgary Roughnecks record book. The 4-time National Lacrosse League All-Star has the most games (160), most goals (274), most assists (354), most points (628) and most game-winning goals (15). But ask anyone who has played the game with and against Toth and they’ll tell you he’s about much more than numbers. He’s about class, integrity and playing the game the right way. Scribes and talkers can use any words they want to describe the career of “9er” as the Calgary Roughnecks prepare to bestow the honor of “Forever a Roughneck” on him. But those words mean little compared to the words of those who played the game with him. So ILIndoor solicited players and coaches from past and present to give their thoughts on the retired forward, and what follows is their tribute to one of the game’s greats.
“Kaleb was not only a phenomenal player and a great leader, he was an amazing teammate, true professional, and always had time for the little things. Kaleb spent selfless hours giving back to the game. By spending time with the game’s fans and youth, always out in the community trying to grow our sport, he will not only be remembered as a “Forever a Roughneck” but will be synonymous with lacrosse in Alberta.”
Curt Malawsky, Calgary Roughnecks coach
“Kaleb was the face of the Calgary Roughnecks. He is sooooo pretty. Haha. Although many will always think of Kaleb when they think of the Roughnecks (as they should) I don’t think many people realize how very important he has been in creating a winning culture within that locker room. An amazing player he was, but more importantly he was the ultimate teammate. Never once did he put himself above the team. Whatever was best for the team, Kaleb did. To say he was a leader would be a huge understatement. With him, leadership just happened.
“My best memories both on and off the floor involve 9er. His heroics on the floor and his friendship off of it are things that I will cherish forever. I consider myself lucky to have had the chance to play with him but even luckier to have created a brotherhood. I know he misses the game but the game of lacrosse will miss ‘The Kid’ more.”
Tracey Kelusky, Buffalo Bandits forward
“Kaleb Toth is a great competitor. He broke my heart scoring a game-winner in a championship game against the Knighthawks. Just a great goal scorer!”
Tim Soudan, former Rochester Knighthawks forward
“Kaleb was the face of the Roughnecks for years and was the go-to guy on and off the floor. He was the type of player that could drive the net hard, score huge goals from the outside and drop the mitts when needed to spark his team. His type of play and character will be missed NLL-wide. Congrats on the retirement!”
Ryan Cousins, former Minnesota Swarm captain
“Kaleb Toth’s name was cemented in NLL history during his rookie campaign when he sniped that last-second shot to win the 2000 NLL championship. It was an epic end to a hard-fought game. That goal is the definition of clutch and was the start of his prolific scoring career in the NLL.”
Tom Ryan, former Philadelphia Wings forward and Boston Blazers coach
“I had the distinct honor and pleasure to coach Kaleb in Calgary through six seasons and as well with the Victoria Shamrocks in the WLA. Of course his considerable accomplishments as a player and champion in our sport are well-documented and recognized. But there is one special thing that he did during my tenure in Calgary that, for me, truly defined his character.
“When the Roughnecks entered their inaugural season in the NLL, Kaleb was the obvious choice as captain given he was the local hero and face of the team. As well, he had already won a Championship with the Toronto Rock scoring the game winning goal in the last second. Kaleb provided great leadership for us in our struggling expansion year and then again through year two when we managed to make the playoffs for the first time. In year three we had the good fortune to landTracey Kelusky through a dispersal draft. Tracey, as we all know, also had great leadership abilities. Well, Kaleb approached me and said he felt that Tracey might be the right person to take on the captaincy given we all felt we had a great shot at winning the title in year three. It really was the epitome of selflessness to volunteer to give up the C as he felt it might be for the greater good of the team.
“Of course, the rest is history. The Roughnecks went on to win their first NLL title that year and Kaleb had a huge hand in our victory. I’ve always admired Kaleb for making that move. I’m sure it didn’t come easily but it truly exemplifies his character. Congratulations on your recognition night in Calgary, Kaleb, and best wishes always to you and your family.”
Chris Hall, current Washington Stealth coach
“Kaleb’s name was always on every Calgary opponent’s dressing room chalkboard for fear that he might have a multiple-point game. He will be remembered as one of the hardest outside shooters in the game and of course for the infamous game winner in the 2000 NLL championship game.”
Jim Veltman, former Toronto Rock defenseman
“Kaleb was one of a kind. He scored one of, if not the most memorable goal in the history of the NLL and I had the best seat in the house for it. The memory of that goal lives very vividly with me to this day. His work at making lacrosse relevant in Alberta will also live long past his retirement. Best wishes Kaleb.”
Colin Doyle, Toronto Rock forward
“Like most young lacrosse players, there are players that grab your attention, guys you really try to emulate. Kaleb is one of the best examples. I’ve been blessed to enjoy the whole spectrum with Kaleb. As young Albertan kid, with Kaleb signing my new ‘Edge’ I was in awe of his skill and big game performances. As a teammate, his professionalism and modesty was first class. As an opponent, his crafty two man game and wicked shot was a challenge to stop. Niner is one of the greats.”
John Lintz, Edmonton Rush defenseman
“Kaleb`s contributions as an ambassador for the game of lacrosse would be impossible to quantify. He has and will continue to have a profound impact on players past, present and future. His 2-man game abilities are legendary, like staring at a Rembrant or Van Gogh. Pure Artistry. His character traits reflect what he will always be, a champion!!!”
Dave Pym, former Calgary Roughnecks coach
“Tother was one of the sports’ best! He was the ultimate player, he could score, he could pass, he could set huge picks, he could fight and dominated in the dirty areas. It was an absolute pleasure to play with him and compete against him. I will always remember him for his great quote, “everyone ropes, everyone rides.”
Anthony Cosmo, Buffalo Bandits goalie
“Have only had a couple conversations with Kaleb, but he was always very open to chat and always positive about his life and his teams. When I was a young buck I was at the last game at Madison Square Garden and he put a rocket shot in the top corner for the game-winner, amazing!! Another game I was playing against him and there was only a couple seconds left in the first half, he got the ball at centre took a hop and riffled one in the top corner from 3 steps inside the centre line. Doubt I will see anything like that again. One of the harder shots the game has seen, have not heard someone say a bad thing about the guy and I hope he enjoys the next chapter of his life.”
Luke Wiles, Buffalo Bandits forward