Robert Esche’s first taste of professional sports came in the American Hockey League as a Springfield Falcon in the 1998-1999 season, the start of a career that spanned more than a dozen years.
American hockey fans remember this Whitesboro, NY native as a goaltender for the Phoenix Coyotes from 1998 until 2002, and then as a Philadelphia Flyer from 2002 until 2007. In 2003, he teamed up with Roman Čechmánek and won the William M. Jennings Trophy, which is awarded to the goalkeeper(s) having played a minimum of 25 games for the team with the fewest goals scored against it. In 2004, he represented the United States in the net at the World Cup of Hockey.
He also represented the United States in Ice Hockey World Championships for several years as well as a tending goal in Torino during the games of the Twentieth Winter Olympiad in 2006. He completed his professional career with teams in Russia (Kazan; Saint Petersburg; Minsk) and Switzerland.
Rob is the CEO of Mohawk Valley Garden, which encompasses the AHL’s Utica Comets, the MASL’s Utica City FC, ORB Food & Beverage, and Garden Entertainment. Rob oversees the business operations, including ticketing and corporate revenue streams, marketing, advertising, creative, communications, community engagement, and the development of the grassroots of sports in the Mohawk Valley. Rob also works closely with other local community leaders to continue to grow the Adirondack Bank Center and additional sporting/entertainment ventures throughout the Mohawk Valley including the addition of the Nexus Center.