Les Binkley never meant to be an AHL trainer with the Cleveland Barons, but he had no choice – if he also wanted to climb the professional ladder of goaltending.
A career minor-leaguer in the Barons system, Binkley got a break in 1961 when Cleveland’s one and only puckstopper, Gil Mayer, got hurt. Binkley was promoted from IHL Toledo and played well enough to please the Barons’ boss, Jim Hendy. “Jim invited me to the Barons’ AHL camp the next fall even though Mayer was really good,” Les told me in an interview for the book Up From The Minor Leagues Of Hockey I co-authored with my wife, Shirley. “Teams only carried one goalie then, but Hendy made an unusual offer. He wanted me to stay with the team as a trainer.”
AHL teams only carried one goalie – maskless, to boot – but Hendy figured if...
About the Author
Stan Fischler is an award-winning writer and broadcaster who's covered the game since 1954. He been a contributor to The Hockey News since 1955 and you can continue to find his Strange But True features in almost every issue.