After a decade away from the continent, Ontario Hockey League grad Rob Zepp returns for 2014-15 to play in the AHL with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Zepp has enjoyed great success in Germany’s Deutsche Eishockey Liga with five playoff championships over the past seven seasons. He joins the Phantoms in their first season calling Allentown, Pennsylvania home after playing out of Glenns Falls since 2009-10.
Zepp played three years in the OHL from 1998-99 to 2000-01, all with the Plymouth Whalers. The Whalers selected Rob in the fifth round of the 1998 OHL Priority Selection, 101st overall. In each of the three years he played with Plymouth, Zepp got his name on the Dave Pinkney Trophy for the OHL team with the lowest goals against average. In his first year, he played 31 games, sharing duties with Robert Holsinger. His games played increased to 53 in 1999-00 as Bill Ruggiero and Aaron Molnar saw limited action between the pipes for Plymouth. In his final year, Zepp appeared in 55 games for the Whalers with Paul Drew as his backup.
Rob twice entered the NHL Entry Draft. In 1999, he was a fourth round pick by the Atlanta Thrashers, 99th overall. Two years later, he was again a fourth round pick at the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, this time by the Carolina Hurricanes and this time 110th overall.
Zepp has played pro hockey since 2001-02 in the ECHL, AHL, Finland’s Liiga and Mestis, and the DEL. He last played in North America with the Florida Everblades of the ECHL in 2004-05.
In a six year span from 2007-08 to 1012-13, Rob was in the nets for Eisbaren Berlin as the team won the league’s playoff championship in each year but 2009-10. This past year, 2013-14, Zepp played 38 games for Berlin, posting a 2.39 goals against average and .931 save percentage. While in Germany, Rob also played on the international stage for the country, appearing in the IIHF World Hockey Championships in 2010, 2013 and 2014.
Rob Zepp is signed with the Philadelphia Flyers organization for 2014-15 on a two-way contract that will most likely see him start the year with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the American Hockey League.
Lehigh Valley Phantoms
The Phantoms are affiliated with the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League and the Reading Royals of the ECHL. The franchise began play for the 1996-97 AHL season as the Philadelphia Phantoms. Twice as the Philadelphia Phantoms, the club won the Calder Cup championship, 1997-98 and 2004-05. The team became the Adirondack Phantoms for the 2009-10 season. In 2013-14, Adirondack placed 13th in the 15 team Eastern Conference and 27th in the 30 team American Hockey League.
With Ron Hextall in the position of General Manager, goaltending will play a prominent role with the Phantoms. The 2014-15 club could potentially have an OHL duo between the pipes when the season starts. Rob Zepp could share duties with Anthony Stolarz. Stolarz has spent the past two seasons with the London Knights. Other OHL grads that most likely will start the new season with Lehigh Valley are Jason Akeson, Brandon Alderson, Nick Cousins, Scott Laughton and Zack Stortini.
The Phantoms will have a brand new barn for the 2014-15 season. The PPL Center in Allentown is expected to open in September and will have a capacity for 8,700 spectators.