Hockey wasn’t through with Kaleb Toth, but he was finished with hockey.
After one year in the ECHL that left him with a sour taste in his mouth, he was ready to move onto the next part of his life.
A few ECHL teams called him about joining for the 2000 season but he was fully committed to making the NLL his career.
The Toronto Rock selected him second overall in the 1998 NLL Entry Draft, and he joined the team for the 2000 season.
He joined a team that was coming off their first NLL title in 1999, and had the beginnings of a dynasty in the making.
The team features future NLL legends Colin Doyle, Jim Veltman, Bob Watson and Dan Stroup, as well as the late Les Bartley behind the bench.
“The first game we played at the Maple Leaf Gardens in front of 15,000 people was just unreal, just seemed like lacrosse was going to take off, it was going to be big and I wanted to be a part of it,” Toth said.
Doyle, who went on to become the best player to ever don a Rock jersey, said Toth was brash when he first joined Toronto.
“Kaleb was young and certainly had a personality that you don’t forget,” Doyle said. “He was a confident young player that served him well. He was a great guy to get to know, great teammate. I only played with for a few years but I had a lot of fun with.
“He’s evolved well over the years and become quite a player and quite a leader.”
In his rookie year, Toth ended up fifth on the team in scoring with a stat line of 18 goals, 22 assists and 40 points in 12 games.
The team went 9-3 on the season, good enough for first place. After wins over the Philadelphia Wings and the Rochester Knighthawks, they won their second straight NLL Champions Cup.
Toth scored the greatest goal in lacrosse history. (READ MORE ABOUT IT HERE)
“It was a perfect first year in the NLL,” Toth said. “I was really fortunate because in 1998, I won the Minto Cup, in ‘99 I won the Mann Cup and in 2000, I won the NLL championships.
“In three years, I won three championships and I had never won anything in hockey.”
The Rock had their chance of winning a third consecutive title the next year, finishing the season with an 11-3 record and top spot in the NLL.
Toth contributed 23 goals, 22 assists and 45 points, good enough for third on team scoring behind Doyle and Squire.
After downing the Washington Power, the Rock lost 9-8 to the Wings in the title game in what would become Toth’s last game in a Toronto uniform.
“In 2001 when we lost to Philly, that was a disappointment,” Toth lamented. “It was the second championship that I lost but the first pro one. To get so close and have something ripped from you, it’s a horrible thing. It’s funny because I talk about winning championships is addictive and all I want to do is win but when you’re on that losing side, it sucks.”
A few months later, the Calgary Roughnecks were named an expansion franchise and Kaleb came home.