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‘Really special’ | Buffalo Jr. Sabres program continues to grow hockey in Buffalo

As the Jr. Sabres continue to produce NHL draft picks, Kaleta shared that the program’s main goal is to teach kids to play the game the right way and to instill the importance of building relationships, putting in the work and adopting a growth mindset to succeed in hockey and life. The organization recently created a running program and two girls’ teams to continue to grow the game in Buffalo, where the former Sabres forward was born and raised.

He has seen the Western New York area continue to develop with more players and more Buffalo Jr. Sabres players move on to the next level of hockey.

“I think it’s really special and it’s only going to get better,” Kaleta said. “And on top of that, I think people don’t really understand what a great job the staff that trains, assists and manages the Jr. Sabres does. For us, not only are we building an elite playing field, an elite developmental field with the resources that we have with Harborcenter and the Impact and the Academy of Hockey, but we’re also building fans. … For me, I look back at the time that I grew up and some of the great moments in my life, I want to create that for more kids in our area as well.

“The group that we have, the team of staff, coaches, etc., is a pretty special group that makes this happen.”

When Geary, Costantini, McCarthy, Smith, Vaarwerk and McKenna took the ice for the Sabres Development Camp, Kaleta was extremely proud to see six players who came through the program make their dreams come true. Sabres director of player development Adam Mair, Jr. gave props to Kaleta and his staff for helping create these opportunities for young players through the Sabres development program.

“It’s unbelievable. I mean, I think it just reflects the vision of the Pegula family and the work that’s been done to grow hockey from the grassroots in Buffalo,” Mair said. “You know, there’s a lot of people working with these players. Matt Ellis, Tim Kennedy, myself, even Kevyn on the Sabres staff. I mean, it’s exciting.”