Fil-Am hockey player signs with NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs
LOS ANGELES — Filipino American hockey player Nick Robertson signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the National Hockey League (NHL)’s Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, Sept. 20, nearly a week after his birthday.
Having just turned 18, Robertson is considered the youngest prospect for the Maple Leafs before securing himself a place on the team.
All new players entering the NHL under the age of 25 are required to be signed under an entry-level contract with a term of one to three years, depending on their age at signing.
“Happy to sign my first NHL contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs,” Robertson wrote on Instagram on Thursday. “Thank you to my family and those who helped me along the way.”
In the post’s comments were congratulatory messages and Philippine flag emojis from fans clearly happy about the news.
Originally from Arcadia, California, Robertson has been training in Peterborough, Ontario, and playing with the Ontario Hockey League’s Peterborough Petes for nearly three years.
He’s also expected to be a part of Team USA’s 2019 World Junior Championship roster this winter 2019. He had a great performance with the team at the World Junior Summer Showcase.
Despite having a height of 5 feet 9 inches, while the average NHL player’s is height 6 feet 1 inch, hockey enthusiasts have lauded Robertson as smart and strategic on the rink.
Others have considered the Maple Leafs lucky for being able to nab Robertson.
His entry-level deal is familiar as just last year, his older brother, Jason Robertson, similarly signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Dallas Stars.
On Instagram, the older brother congratulated the younger sibling on Thursday saying, “Maple Leafs got a good one in you.”
Back in June, Nick Robertson was among the Toronto Maple Leafs’ draft picks coming from the team’s annual week-long development camp.
In 2015, Filipino-Canadian Matt Dumba became the first ever Filipino to make it to the NHL. Fil-Canadian Jomar Cruz came close in 1988 when he became the first ever Filipino to make it to the second round of the NHL entry draft.
“There are a lot of Asians in California that are coming up,” said Robertson. “Once people see how much hockey is growing in the Asian community — I try to hopefully get more Filipinos to play hockey.”