Diabetes Advocate & Athlete
Student-Athlete, York University
Humboldt Bus Crash Survivor
At the age of 4, Kaleb was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, which led coaches and scouts to tell him and his parents that he would never be able to play hockey at a high level. Instead of defeat, Kaleb used that as motivation, worked relentlessly, and played at the highest level each year of his hockey career. Along the way, he developed a program called Dahlgren’s Diabeauties, which used hockey as a platform to shed light on Type 1 Diabetes and provide support for children with the disease.
Playing in the small town Junior A hockey market of Wilcox, Saskatchewan, Kaleb asked to be traded to a bigger city so that he could officially launch Dahlgren’s Diabeauties, which is how he landed in the city of Humboldt, Saskatchewan, and became a member of the Broncos team. A leader on the ice, on April 6, 2018, Kaleb’s life was forever changed while on route to a playoff game in the town of Nipawin. The Humboldt Broncos’ team bus was involved in a horrific bus crash with a semi-trailer truck that resulted in 16 deaths and 13 players left in critical condition.
One of the survivors of the crash, Kaleb suffered extensive injuries including a Traumatic Brain Injury, fractured skull, fractures in his neck and back, blood clotting, and much more. Being a fighter all his life, Kaleb was driven to return to hockey and was determined to continue making an impact on and within his community. Shortly after getting out of the hospital, Kaleb’s verbal commitment prior to the accident turned to an official commitment to York University as a student-athlete with the York Men’s Lions Varsity Hockey Team, where he is currently attending. Kaleb will be a key part to the York University Lions’ success when he steps back on the ice after being medically cleared from his injuries.
Today, alongside his studies and focus on returning to hockey, Kaleb is actively growing the impact of Dahlgren’s Diabeauties, supporting various charities including special needs groups, and sharing his message of hope and healing with groups across North America.
In unrelated news, Kaleb requested a trade to join the Humboldt Broncos so he could be in a hockey market to launch his foundation for youth living with T1 diabetes.
Through both the highs and lows, Kaleb has lived by a select set of trusted principles that reflect his ingrained values and positive approach to life’s battles. Since a young age, Kaleb’s vibrant personality and positive outlook on life have helped him achieve his goals and become a leader on and off the ice. In this keynote, Kaleb breaks down the importance of holding yourself to high standards in order to get the best out of yourself and others, even in the face of tragedy.
From the age of four, Kaleb made it clear that he wouldn’t take no for an answer. Being told that he would never play hockey at an elite level by coaches and scouts because of his Type 1 Diabetes never discouraged Kaleb, instead, it lit a fire within him to prove them wrong. From rising through the hockey ranks and playing at one of Canada’s highest junior hockey levels to mentoring and helping children with diabetes realize that their dreams are possible, Kaleb has embraced his ‘illness’ and has changed many lives in the process.
When facing adversity, you can either back down and stay quiet or you can stand up and fight for what you believe in. Kaleb has always gone with the ladder option.
In the town of Humboldt, in the diabetes community, and on the Humboldt Broncos Junior A hockey team, Kaleb has always taken on a leadership role. Having been awarded nine awards for his community and team commitments, Kaleb knows what it takes to be a leader and wants to teach others how to embrace the leadership qualities within themselves.