Grizzlies rookie d-man Binkley enjoying ECHL life in Utah
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When Jason Binkley’s ECHL rights were released last summer by the South Carolina Stingrays, he wondered what uniform he would wear for the 2015-16 season.
Then his phone rang.
“When I became available, (Utah Grizzlies coach-GM) Tim Branham gave me a call and we talked for two hours straight,” remembered Binkley. “I really liked what Tim told me and I talked it over with my agent and my family and we decided it would be a great fit. It’s been a great time here this season.”
From 2011-15, the Powell, Ohio, native played NCAA Division I hockey at Ferris State University (WCHA). He joined the Stingrays for seven games after his season with Ferris State ended, getting his feet wet in the pro game.
Binkley said when he first came to Utah, he was blown away.
“I’m used to places like Ohio and Michigan and then you drive in through Park City and then you see the Wasatch Mountain Range and you don’t think it’s real,” beamed the 23-year-old Binkley. “Then you get to the rink (Maverik Center) and it’s spectacular – the amenities, the locker room, everything. The group of guys we have here, they all are here to win and we’re all on the same page. We just have to keep our will to win going, but every time we strap on the pads and go out there, we know what to do.”
Utah has been in first place in the West Division most of the season, in addition to sitting second in the entire 14-team Western Conference. Tasting success this year may lay the groundwork for Binkley next season.
“There are always a lot of options in hockey, but here in Utah, everything is in place for the organization to be successful,” noted Binkley. “This year has been a lot of fun and I always keep that in my mind.”
— Matt Mackinder