|5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
160 lb (73 kg)
Chicago Black Hawks
New York Rangers
|Born||November 29, 1919,|
Canmore, AB, CAN
|Died||July 9 1987 (aged 67),|
|Pro Career||1941 – 1955|
Alexander "Killer" Kaleta (November 29, 1919 – July 9, 1987) was a Canadian professional ice hockey player. 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.
He played senior hockey with the Calgary Stampeders, Regina Vic-Aces, and Lethbridge Maple Leafs from 1938 to 1941. The Chicago Black Hawks brought him up for the 1941-42 season when he scored 28 points in his rookie season. Kaleta then spent the next three seasons with the senior Calgary Currie Army team.
In 1945-46 he returned to the Black Hawks and played three seasons as a regular on the team.
During his tenure with the Black Hawks, he is credited to have begun the tradition of the hat trick during the 1945–46 season when he entered a shop in Toronto looking for a new hat. Without enough money to buy one, he reached an agreement with shop owner Sammy Taft that if he scored three goals that night in a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, he would earn a free hat. In fact, that night, on January 26, 1946, he scored four goals against the Leafs. While there are other accounts of the hat trick's origin in hockey, Kaleta's story is the one 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.
In his NHL career, Kaleta scored 92 goals and 121 assists in 387 games.