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A 13-year journey led goaltender Rob Zepp to his first NHL® start for the Philadelphia Flyers back on December 21, 2014 and he got the win against the Winnipeg Jets! Zepp was a fourth round draft pick for the Atlanta Thrashers in 1999. He failed to receive a contract and reentered the NHL® Draft in 2001 where the Carolina Hurricanes grabbed him again in the fourth round.
Over the next few years Zepp saw action only in the AHL and ECHL before signing a deal to play overseas after the 2004-05 season. And overseas Zepp became the man for the DEL’s Eisbaren Berlin where he had played prior to this season. There he helped the team capture the league title five times and actually represented Germany at the World Championships even though he is a Newmarket, Ontario native. After 8 years in Germany, the Flyers saw his potential and inked him to a one-year deal where his dream of playing in the NHL® was again close to his grasp.
At 33-years-old, Zepp became the oldest rookie goaltender to ever record a NHL® victory in his debut and now will receive another honour courtesy of Upper Deck. He will become the oldest NHL® goaltender to ever receive an Upper Deck Young Guns rookie card! Fans can find Zepp’s first-ever rookie card in packs of 2014-15 NHL® Upper Deck Series Two which releases in hobby and retail stores on February 25, 2015. Below is an image of the card.
Since his big win, Zepp has rejoined the Lehigh Valley Phantoms after Steve Mason returned to the Flyers and has continued his great play. And “The Zepper” also continues to be incredibly positive through it all saying recently, “I wanted to show that I belonged in the league full-time. I waited a long time for that first game. I’m happy to wait a little longer for the next one.”
Well Rob, you’re never really in the NHL® until you have your very own official Upper Deck rookie card. Welcome to the show!