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Mr. Hot Shot

Meet Kaleb Toth, assistant captain of the Calgary Roughnecks, known for having one of the hardest shots in the history of lacrosse.

by Jeremy Freeborn

Kaleb Toth

Since 2002, the heart and soul of the Calgary Roughnecks has been Calgary native Kaleb Toth. Currently the assistant captain, Toth was instrumental in leading the Roughnecks to their two National Lacrosse League (NLL) Champion’s Cup titles, in 2004 and 2009. As a forward, he is one of the team’s leaders in goals, assists, points and loose balls. Known for having one of the hardest shots in the league, Toth won the NLL Skills Competition in 2004, by delivering a shot 99 miles an hour.

Outside the game of lacrosse, Toth volunteers as an athlete ambassador for the Right to Play organization, and likes to spend his time either on the golf course or fishing. We caught up with the 33-year-old lacrosse star just hours before he scored his historic 300th career goal in the NLL against the Washington Stealth. He talks about how he got into the sport, and how he developed the hard shot he’s known for.

WC: What do you like most about being in Calgary?
KT: “The fact that I’m a born-and-raised Calgarian was one of the big reasons why I asked for the trade to leave Toronto and come to Calgary. [Toth was originally drafted by the Toronto Rock, he stayed with the team for two seasons.] I wanted to play in front of my friends and family and help grow the sport in Calgary. When I first started playing, there were only about 600 kids that played lacrosse, now there’s over 5,000. It’s come a long way and hopefully it keeps on growing.”

WC: Why did you choose to play lacrosse?
KT: “My first passion was hockey; lacrosse was my summer sport, and they started to coincide with each other. When hockey didn’t work out for me, lacrosse was a great fall back sport. I have no regrets—it’s opened a lot of doors for me. I’ve won three championships [two with Calgary, one with Toronto] and have been a part of some great, amazing teams.”

WC: One of your trademarks is having one of the hardest shots in the league. Is that something you have practiced or did it come naturally to you?
KT: “A little of both. I’ve always had a hard shot but I’ve worked on it since I was a kid by going to practices early and going to the outdoor box and just shooting. I enjoyed playing the sport and wanted to improve every aspect of it.”

With a 99 mile per hour shot, Toth is one of the most feared forwards in the NLL.

WC: What are your hobbies when you’re not playing lacrosse?
KT: “I like to fish, go outdoors, and I like to golf. I also bowl the odd time, and spend time with my family. I have two young kids that keep me pretty busy. When I have free time, I like to spend it with them.”

WC: Do you have a favourite golf course or place to fish?
KT: “Heritage Pointe, Carnmoney and Glencoe are three of my favourite golf courses. For fishing, I have a friend out on Vancouver Island that takes me out on his boat all the time. When you get fishing by the ocean, it’s a pretty big thrill.”

WC: Where is your favourite place to go for pizza in Calgary?

KT: “I really enjoy Jon’s Pizza in Douglasdale. But if we’re looking for something quick, it’s usually Little Caesar’s or Pizza 73.”

WC: Do you have any favourite restaurants?
KT: “Spolumbo’s is one of my favourites. I go there all the time for a sandwich. [Part-owner] Tony Spoletini has been great to me. I also enjoy steak, so we go to The Keg, and my wife and I really like sushi.”

WC: Where do you like to go for shopping and entertainment?
KT: “I don’t get a lot of time to go shopping. When I do, it’s Southcentre or Chinook Centre because they’re close to where I live.”

WC: Music is played regularly during lacrosse. Do you have a favourite type?
KT: “When you’re on the floor you don’t really hear it. I tune everything out and don’t know half the time what is playing. I know it sounds a little weird, but I like listening to Sports Talk Radio (Sportsnet Radio FAN 960) and 660 News to find out what’s going on.”

WC: Why is it so important for you to be an active volunteer in Calgary?
KT: “I like to get involved in the community. I feel very fortunate for what I have, so I like to give back to people who aren’t as fortunate as me. I’m blessed with a lot of gifts, and if I have a chance to share those or help somebody out, I’m going to grab the opportunity.”

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