Calgary Roughnecks veteran forward Kaleb Toth announced his retirement this week in an emotional press conference.
The announcement comes after Toth missed both Roughnecks exhibition games due to ongoing leg injuries.
Toth has been battling leg problems for some time now. He had knee surgery prior to the 2012 season and subsequently only saw limited action on the floor, playing in only seven games and collecting eight points along the way.
Toth also appeared in the Roughnecks’ lone playoff game last season in place of Curtis Dickson who missed the postseason due to injury.
The Calgary native wraps up his career in the NLL as the Roughnecks’ all-time leader in games played (160), goals (274), assists (354), points (628), and shots on goal (633). In addition, he finishes with Calgary’s second most loose balls (568) and power play goals (47).
Toth’s NLL career began in 2000 after being drafted by the Toronto Rock. The Rock went to the Champion’s Cup final that year and Toth established himself as having a flair for the dramatic when he scored the championship-winning goal with one of his trademark booming outside shots as the clock ticked down in the dying seconds of the game.
Not only did that goal win the Rock the league championship, but it was also the very last goal scored in Maple Leaf Gardens before that arena was closed and replaced with Air Canada Centre.
Following the 2001 season, the Calgary Roughnecks expanded into the league and quickly cut a deal to acquire hometown boy Toth from the Rock. No. 9 would respond with the best season of his young career, scoring a career-best 38 goals and 79 points.
He would go on to equal those 38 goals in 2005 and better his single-season points total to 80 in 2009.
Along the way, Toth would be part of two more Champion’s Cup victories with the Roughnecks, in 2004 and 2009.
The Roughnecks have posted a highlight reel of great Kaleb Toth moments on their website. It includes the goal he scored top shelf against New York Titans goalie Matt Vinc as time expired in the first half of the 2009 Champion’s Cup from almost half court (0:27 of the video). The goal put Calgary up by two at the break and gave them enough momentum to seal the deal in their second Cup win.
There’s that flair for the dramatic again.
Toth leaves behind a tremendous legacy as a player and as an ambassador for box lacrosse. As a member of the Calgary Roughnecks since Day One, he has been an advocate for the game around the city; in the 11 years since the Roughnecks arrived, more than 10 times as many people take part in lacrosse around Calgary and Toth has played a significant part.
Seeing a Calgary boy not only play the game at the highest level, but excel in it has inspired many young Calgarians to give the game a try and it has paid off in spades.
Now players like Geoff Snider, also with the Roughnecks, have taken up the banner for Calgary lacrosse and the future continues to look bright.
Kaleb Toth will be missed in a Roughnecks jersey but the high standards he set will live on for years to come.