Sabres hire Kaleta as youth hockey ambassador

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In a move that seemingly doubles as a retirement announcement, the Sabres have hired longtime forward Patrick Kaleta as a youth hockey ambassador.

More, from the club:

In this role, Kaleta will implement and manage the Buffalo Sabres’ Learn to Play Program.

Focusing primarily on the Western New York region, Kaleta will also serve as a liaison to the local high school hockey community and will provide additional support and instruction for other youth hockey initiatives.

“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to work in the community in which I was born and raised, and to help grow the game of hockey among the youth of Western New York,” Kaleta said. “As a kid, it was always a dream of mine to become a Buffalo Sabre and now I’ll have the opportunity to help other young kids develop the same passion for hockey.”

Born and raised in Angola, NY, Kaleta was drafted by Buffalo in 2004 and spent his entire professional career with the Sabres organization, appearing in nearly 350 NHL contests.

Now, there’s no sense in glossing over the obvious here — there will be remarks made about hiring Kaleta, one of the most notorious players of his generation.

A known agitator, Kaleta was at peak infamy from 2009-13, when he was fined or suspended seven times during a four-year stretch, culminating with a 10-game ban for a headshot on Columbus’ Jack Johnson.

Kaleta unsuccessfully appealed that suspension, at which time another forward with a checkered history — Matt Cooke — offered to help Kaleta change his style of play.