Buffalo Sabres rightwinger Patrick Kaleta talked to SI Kids about his mini construction projects — and the super cool room he built to hold them all.
Right around the 2010 World Cup, I heard soccer star David Beckham was doing the Taj Mahal Lego set. I had broken my hand, and I figured if David Beckham can do it, there's gotta be something to it. I started off just goofing around, and ultimately it turned into a whole room in my house dedicated to Legos.
I'm not a person who can sit down and relax. At first I was curious, and it ended up being pretty good therapy for my hands, just rehabbing after breaks and surgeries. (I've had four surgeries.)
It's an accomplishment when you get the big ones done. The Taj Mahal is probably the coolest because it's the most pieces I've done, and it was the hardest. It took two days with breaks for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Kaleta's model of the Taj Mahal, a famous building in India, has nearly 6,000 pieces.
I did a couple sets with my buddies when I was younger. We didn't use the directions. We just built what we needed to have wars and that kind of thing. I probably took a solid 15 to 20 years off from Legos before I got back into it.
I bought a house five years ago and was getting ready to start remodeling. I had a room upstairs that I would put all my Legos in, and they were all over the floor. My dad put up a bunch of shelves, and I came home from a road trip and he had put down colored flooring.
When I go to hospitals to visit kids, they always ask about my Legos. It really gives me a way to relate to the kids in the area and make them feel comfortable talking to me.
Photos: Bill Wippert for Sports Illustrated (Kaleta with Legos, Taj Mahal), Jim McIsaac/NHLI/Getty Images (action)