For most people, hockey is more than a game. Hockey is a community and a way for people to come together and it is known to extend beyond the game. For Kaleb Dahlgren, he is learning that and also doing it. His role in hockey has had a major impact on many people and in several ways.
Kaleb is a hockey player from Saskatoon. He was born in 1997 or for the true hockey folks… he’s a ‘97 birth year. He played youth hockey and got to play AAA for the Battleford Stars. He was good enough in AAA to make it all the way to play in the Saskatoon Junior Hockey League. In the SJHL, he played 2 seasons for the Notre Dame Hounds. In his last eligible year of juniors, he went to Humboldt and played on one of the tightest-knit teams ever in hockey. Unfortunately, Kaleb was involved in the bus crash that shook the whole world. His competitive hockey career halted.
The tragedy of the bus crash gave way for Kaleb’s mindset to shine through. He did a few speaking engagements in 2019 and throughout these engagements, folks encouraged him to think about writing a book. He at first laughed at the idea, thinking he shouldn’t be the one to write a book since he was not much of a reader. Even after talking to Canadian Hockey legend Hayley Wickenheiser, he wasn’t convinced. He felt like he was not ready physically, mentally, or emotionally to recount traumatic events that happened throughout his life.
He put the idea of the book behind him and continued life as a college Student-Athlete on the Lions Men’s Hockey Team at York University. However, it was in his second year at York that one of his professors got his attention. It was an uplifting quote to start class, “If you want to change the world, it starts with you.” that propelled him to write his book. He knew that his story could help various audiences, and have a bunch of different messages to inspire and help people.
His book, Crossroads – My Story Of Tragedy and Resilience As A Humboldt Bronco, was written at a very fast pace…one year from start to finish in 2020. He didn’t even stop schooling at York and wrote the book while taking a full class load to earn a Commerce degree before starting his studies to become a Chiropractor in 2021. He had to have quite a strict regimen to do so. Kaleb spent the majority of every Sunday dedicated to the book. He had help from Dan Robson in writing the book. His process was that he would take conversations he had and turn the audio into text, then text into chapters. Dan would write it and Kaleb would revise it. The end product turned out to be about 80% in Kaleb’s voice. The process proved to be very efficient and helped get the book to be written in a year.
Kaleb started the book in January of 2020 and it was finished in August of 2020. COVID-19 helped because not much was open. From August – December much of that time was spent editing the book. HarperCollins (the publisher) and Kaleb tried a different marketing strategy to push the book out fast with little lead up. Usually, a book launch takes several months but Crossroads was put out in March of 2021.
Usually with a big book launch like Crossroads, an author would have to do a large press tour throughout Canada. Not that Kaleb didn’t, but he could do it all from his families basement in Saskatoon. His tour in early 2021, took place during the Covid pandemic and travel was still relatively not advised. So, when his book was launched in March of that year, he would do interviews via Zoom. As he puts it, he could be in Montreal for one interview and then with the press of a button be in Vancouver. The book was a big success. He still gets to talk about it and see folks sending him messages every week. He said he still gets about 10-20 messages per week about how the book has helped someone and for him, that’s way more important than any money. He also donated all his book proceeds to STARS (Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service) – an organization that helped save him and his Broncos family on April 6th, 2018.
In addition to talking about what made his Humboldt team special, and his bond with his teammates and families, Kaleb uses his platform both in the book and in his speaking engagements to raise awareness about Type 1 Diabetes. He has his own charity called Dahlgren’s Diabeauties and he is very involved with each and every kid in his program of 16. He said it’s great to see these kids go on to do incredible things. Some of the kids from his Diabeauties program have gone on to write a book, earn academic and athletic scholarships, and 5 have their own programs. In addition to his own program, Kaleb still gives talks to organizations like JDRF and does speeches on resilience, leadership, and health/wellness to various organizations or institutions about 20-30 times a year. He hopes to use his platform to help find a cure through tech advancements and work with the Canadian government to get help to those who really need it.
When he isn’t doing talks or working on his diabetes philanthropy, he is a chiropractic student working towards his doctoral degree. He will also be specializing in Neuroscience when he is completed. He really wants to help those with the toughest cases and those with brain injuries when he starts practicing. He is going to be going on a mission trip in 2026 to help those in the Dominican Republic through an organization called World Spine Care. He will be graduating in 2025 and doesn’t plan on writing any more books in the near future…though perhaps a medical paper might be more appropriate in the near future!
Kaleb is very thankful for the support received towards himself and the Broncos family, and to everyone who helps do the small things to make the world a better place. He is very passionate about his studies and his diabetes philanthropy and he is helping several people.
Hockey is more than a game for most folks. It’s people like Kaleb Dahlgren that prove that and go above and beyond the game. He like many others in hockey is going beyond the game to make the world a better place.