Robert Herckenrath joined the first team of Nijmegen as a 17 year-old youngster. During that period icehockey in Nijmegen was in a slump. That same year coach Alex Andjelic left Nijmegen for hockeyclub Chur in Switzerland and players like Bill Wensink and talent Rob van Steen left for Geleen. At the start of that season Nijmegen only managed to contract just one import: Danny Craig (U. of Lowell, NCAA), brother of goalie Jim Craig who played for the USA-hockeyteam during the Olympic games of 1980.
Herckenrath only stayed his first two years in Nijmegen and left for Heerenveen. Herckenrath always said that he picked up a lot of skills and experience from Jim Bisset and Dan Bourbonnais, two imports of Heerenveen during that period. After playing 2 years for Heerenveen Herckenrath joined his former Nijmegen-teammates Tijnagel, Bruijsten, Wensink and Van Heumen in Rotterdam, and stayed with the Panda’s for four years. During his stay in Rotterdam Herckenrath managed to win two championships. Herckenrath came back , as so many, to Nijmegen in the 1992-1993 season.
At that point Herckenrath tunred into an allround, two-way powerforward with a great physique. A player who always gave a 100% for his teammates and the fans. Whenever the pucked was dropped in the corners Herckenrath went after it and managed to get it out, setting up teammates in front of the net. During a lot of games Herckenrath managed to become a menace for a lot of first line players of Nijmegen opponents.
After coming back to Nijmegen he left again for 1 season to Geleen and Eindhoven during the 1994-1995 campaign. But after that year he decided that all he wanted to do was play icehockey and came back to the club never to leave again. Furthermore Herckenrath was a rolemodel for younger players who came out of the youth-program with Nijmegen and always protected them during games. Herckenrath captained Nijmegen for a lot of years and managed to win the championship 5 times during the highly successful nineties with Nijmegen. In a total he played 9 full years for Nijmegen (+ 2 seasons in which he helped out Nijmegen when they needed leadership on the ice).
He decided to retire fully from hockey after winning the title in the 1999-2000 season. He made a stunning comeback in the 2000-2001 to help the club again when faith was low and the team needed a natural leader on the ice and in the locker-room.