Alexander George "Killer" Kaleta - Born November 29, 1919 in Canmore, Alberta – Died July 9, 1987 was a Canadian Professional Ice Hockey player.
Kaleta learned to skate on the rink in his backyard in Canmore, Alberta.
Kaleta played with his hometown Canmore Briquettes in 1937.
Kaleta played his senior Hockey in the Alberta Senior Hockey league, first with the Calgary Stampeders in 1938, then the Lethbridge Maple Leafs in 1940. Kaleta played with the Regina Vic-Aces in 1939.
Kaleta was so fast; his nickname was ‘Seabiscuit,’ after the horse.”
He played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Chicago Black Hawks and New York Rangers and is best known for his part in originating Hockey's Hat Trick tradition - Kaleta, a fleet winger, joined the Blackhawks for the 1941-42 season, then missed three full years during World War II, but spent the three seasons playing with the Calgary A-16 Currie Army during the War.
When he rejoined the NHL, Kaleta wandered into Sammy Taft’s establishment in Toronto and took a liking to a fancy fedora. There was only one problem: He didn’t have sufficient funds to purchase it. Taft, an entrepreneur with obvious promotional skills, made a proposal. If Kaleta happened to score three goals against the Maple Leafs that evening — Jan. 26, 1946 — he should return to the store and the hat would be his for free. Kaleta not only scored three goals. He scored four in a 6-5 loss to the Maple Leafs.
As Taft fondly recalls, the Toronto press ran with the story. On the radio that night, when he listened for Hockey results, the big news was “Blackhawk Alex Kaleta’s hat trick.” The next day’s newspapers were all over it too. Although there are other versions about how one of the most famous terms in Hockey — and the lexicon of all sports — evolved, the tale of Taft and Kaleta is officially recognized by the Hockey Hall of Fame. Kaleta went on to complete the season that year with an NHL career-high 46 points.
After four seasons with the Black Hawks, Kaleta joined the New York Rangers in 1948–49. He recorded consecutive 31-point seasons in two seasons with the Rangers before ending his NHL career by joining the Saskatoon Quakers of the minor pro Pacific Coast Hockey League (PCHL) in 1951–52. The next season, the PCHL was absorbed by the Western Hockey League (WHL), where Kaleta played with the Quakers for three more seasons before retiring in 1954–55.
Alex Kaleta was inducted into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008.
The Canmore Recreation Centre Alex Kaleta is named in his honor.