Monday, October 17, 2011

Eastern Conference Eye Candy: Patrick Kaleta (Buffalo Sabres)

Patrick Kaleta started out playing both minor (Hamburg Hawks and West Seneca Wings) and high school hockey (St. Francis High School - Athol Springs, NY).  It was during high school that he was discovered by the Peterborough Petes of the OHL with whom he played for four seasons (2002-03 - 2005-06).

He was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the 6th round (176th overall) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft and has been with the organization since (signing a contract back in June 2006).  From 2006-07 through 2007-08, Kaleta split his time between Buffalo's AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans, and the Sabres until the 2008-09 season when he remained on the Sabres NHL roster.

Patrick earned his first point during his first NHL game on February 22, 2007 against the Ottawa Senators.
Kaleta is only the fourth Buffalo-area resident to play for the hometown Sabres in the regular season (Scott Thomas, Randy Burridge, and Tim Kennedy), but of the four, he is the one who has spent the most time and played the most games with Buffalo.

He's small for a hockey player (at 5'11), but he does pack a punch and usually is placed on the Sabres fourth line with other enforcers (he's more of an agitator, but won't hesitate to drop the gloves when necessary); as for the style of hockey Kaleta plays, The Hockey News has called him "an agitating energy winger" and says the following about him:
Works very hard. Likes to antagonize the opposition and is also an occasional combatant. Provides energy and grit to any lineup. Has a decent two-way game.
Patrick played in his 200th NHL career game last season on March 1, 2011 against the New York Rangers.

Kaleta is another American-born player; he grew up in Angola, NY (a suburb of Buffalo).

His favorite hockey player growing up was Mike Peca who also played for the Buffalo Sabres and wore #27 which is the number Kaleta wore during his time in OHL and AHL.

He is greatly involved in charity work and founded the HITS Foundation (Helping Individuals To Smile) which provides financial, facility and program support for underprivileged children and adults to offer opportunities in activities that would otherwise be unavailable to them.  From Buffalo BusinessFirst:
“I’ve always enjoyed being out in the community and helping people,” he said recently while getting ready to tee off at his foundation’s second annual golf outing Aug. 22. “If there is any way I can help someone, I love to do it.”

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