August 2, 2012
Kaleb Toth waiting for call
By WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency
CALGARY - The last original member of the Calgary Roughnecks, Kaleb Toth, figures he’s finished with his longtime team.
The right-handed forward officially became an unrestricted free agent Wednesday and hasn’t received a new contract offer from the Riggers.
In fact, he’s pondered the possibility his National Lacrosse League career could be over.
“I’ve got a feeling that if (the Roughnecks) wanted me back, I would have heard something already, but there’s no hard feelings there. Obviously, they’re moving in a different direction,” Toth said. “If nobody else calls, then I don’t have a problem with retiring.
I had a great career. I won three championships. I was on a bunch of really good teams.
“And I got to do something that a lot of guys didn’t — I got to play in my hometown and help grow a sport that I love and win a championship in my hometown — not only once but twice. Not a lot of guys can say that. Not a lot of guys have done that, and that’s something that I’m very proud of.”
It’s not shocking that the Riggers haven’t offered a job — at least, on the floor — to their all-time franchise leader in almost every offensive category.
In his 11th NLL campaign in Calgary, Toth suited up for only seven of 16 regular-season games last winter and was a healthy scratch for the Riggers’ lone playoff outing. It’s possible his last appearance in a Roughnecks uniform was during the Calgary Stampede parade.
Toth, who turns 35 next week, is currently on the West Coast on a summer vacation, although his cellphone is turned on if anybody wants to call with a contract offer.
On Wednesday afternoon, Riggers GM Mike Board refused to rule out re-signing Toth, saying he’d like to have a chat with the free-agent forward.
“I don’t think we’ve ruled it out, but we do need to get younger. Kaleb has done a lot for this franchise. We just haven’t had enough discussion at this point to see where everybody is sitting,” Board said. “He’s meant a lot to the franchise, and he’s put in a lot of time and effort, both on the floor and in the community. It’s a matter of you want to do the right thing for both sides.
“You have that discussion, and hopefully, everybody is happy when you finish with it.”
If this is, indeed, the end of the line for Toth, he’ll be remembered as one of the greatest players in Roughnecks history.
He’s the all-time franchise leader in games played (160), goals (274), assists (354), points (628) and loose balls (661) and was a part of championship celebrations in 2004 and ’09.
Although he started his career — and won his first Champions Cup — with the Toronto Rock before Calgary scored an expansion team in 2001, Toth admitted it’s strange to imagine playing his home games anywhere other than the Saddledome.
“If another teams calls, I think it will still be a tough decision whether I want to retire or whether I want to go play for somebody else,” Toth said. “Like I had said before to my wife and some of my friends, if I don’t play next year, I’m fine with that. I had a great career. Do I think it’s over? No.
“But if it comes to the end, I won’t be upset.”