OfficialNK Podcast Playback | Episode 48 | Robert Esche
Nasty Knuckes Robert Esche

NK Podcast Playback | Episode 48 | Robert Esche


Nasty Knuckles returns this week with another episode of everyone’s favorite, outlaw hockey podcast. The special guest joining the guys for this week’s episode of Nasty Knuckles is none other than Robert “Chico” Esche. Flyers fans will remember the four seasons Chico spent in the net as Philadelphia’s goaltender, helping them reach the Eastern Conference Finals in 2004. Robert has also played professionally in Phoenix for the Coyotes and overseas for several different professional hockey teams in Russia. 

Nowadays, Chico is no longer playing hockey professionally, but he hasn’t gone far from the beautiful game we all enjoy. Today, Robert “Chico” Esche is the president of the AHL affiliate Utica Comets. In addition to his duties as the president of the Comets, Chico also serves as the president of Utica City FC, which competes in the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL), and the CEO of Mohawk Valley Garden. If you’re interested in hearing what it is like to be the president of a professional hockey team, you won’t want to miss episode #48 of Nasty Knuckles and the interesting conversation Riley and Nasty have with Robert Esche. 


We will not spoil this insightful, hilarious interview with the fellas and “Chico,” but we will share some of the highlights so that you can get an idea of what the show covers. Of course, when you have such an incredibly well-rounded guest like Chico on your show, many different topics come up. 

First, with the Flyers alumni game fast approaching, you know we had to chat with our good friend about what he expects out of the game and more. Plus, any episode with a former Flyers teammate like Chico would be vastly incomplete without some hilarious inside stories and shared memories with the guys as they relive their time together in the great city of Philadelphia. 

Additionally, we had to discuss what it was like playing with Schoenfield during Esche’s time in Phoenix. You might be surprised to learn that there are things Chico would have done differently during his time in the NHL. If you have ever wondered what it is like to be a professional athlete and then transition into becoming a president and CEO, you won’t find a better guest than Robert “Chico” Esche. Like with all their guests, all sorts of topics are up for discussion, including: 

  • What it is like to transition from one affiliate to another
  • What it’s like to be president of a professional hockey team 
  • Playing professionally overseas
  • Getting into farming in Russia
  • Crazy fighting stories and so much more!

If you're the type of podcast listener who likes to multitask, here are some of the best bits with timestamps to keep you on track.

The Best Bits:

  1. Preparing for the upcoming Flyers alumni game [11:32]
  2. Being the president of the Utica Comets and developing the Mohawk Valley Garden company [18:54]
  3. Esche transitioning from one affiliate to another [26:48]
  4. Extending the AHL into new markets [30:44]
  5. Who Esche considers one of his favorite teammates of all time and his favorite coach [38:55]
  6. Jim Schoenfield forcing Esche to go out in the rink in another goalie’s gear [49:45]
  7. What it was like playing hockey in the Russian League and how Russian players fight [59:50]
  8. What Esche wishes he’d done differently while in the league [66:00]

Striking Quotes:

“You can’t really rearrange the skate room, but he [Parma] did, and I’d think how the hell did you move the skate machine which weighs like a ton?!”


“I didn’t even know who Sergei Brylin was, but he must be up to something cuz he’s got all these cups and s***.”


“Everything is great when you’re 7-0; the trainers are awesome, the coaches are awesome, the players are awesome, cheerleaders….’


“I said I haven’t tried to get into Hitch’s [Ken Hitchcock] head; it’s a dark place, next day on the front page paper Chico says….”


“He [Sean Burke] goes I can’t fight a Euro, if I lose that fight I ruin my whole reputation.’

You seriously won’t want to miss this fantastic episode of Nasty Knuckles. Robert “Chico” Esche is such an insightful, well-rounded guest, and he has a ton of hilarious stories about his playing time in the NHL and overseas. You will be hard-pressed to find another guest who can talk about farming in Russia, running a successful umbrella company, and operating an AHL affiliate with such insight and humor. 

Tune in to this new and fun episode of Nasty Knuckles. Riley and Nasty bring some of the league’s best current and veteran NHL players to give hockey fans one of the best professional sports podcasts in the country. 

This show packs laughs, wisdom, and most of all, hockey insight into every single episode.

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Nasty Knuckles: Outlaw Hockey Podcast

You deserve a podcast that not only delivers the latest news from the hockey world but also offers insightful conversations with some of the game’s biggest stars and league insiders. 


You won’t find any other hockey podcast quite like Nasty Knuckles. This podcast covers all things hockey and the latest NHL news, from the NHL draft and league dress code to the latest expansion franchise, the Seattle Kraken, and all of the exciting on-ice action every week. If you are a fan of the National Hockey League, Nasty Knuckles will soon be your favorite weekly hockey podcast.