At 41 years old, Les Binkley played his final season of professional hockey in the North American Hockey League with the Buffalo Norsemen. Binkley appeared in 24 games for Buffalo in the team’s only year in the NAHL. That season, Les also played seven games in the WHA with the Toronto Toros, posting a less than stellar 5.73 goals against average.
Buffalo had Guy Trottier as player / head coach, also in his last year of pro hockey. The Norsemen finished fourth in the West Division and fell to the Johnstown Jets in the opening round of the playoffs.
Binkley played three years of junior hockey in the OHA from 1951-52 to 1953-54, all with the Galt Black Hawks. He played pro hockey from 1955-56 to 1975-76 in seven different leagues (IHL, EHL, AHL, WHL, NHL, WHA, NAHL).
At 33 in 1967-68, expansion finally gave Binkley a shot at the National Hockey League. Les was the first player signed by the Pittsburgh Penguins and he played between the pipes for the club from 1967-68 to 1971-72.
With the World Hockey Association starting business for the 1972-73 season, Binkley jumped ship to play for the Ottawa Nationals. He followed the club as they moved to Toronto to become the Toros and, as mentioned above, played his final seven games with the club in 1975-76.
His one and only championship came back in 1956-67 with the Charlotte Clippers of the Eastern Hockey League. Binkley played all of the team’s 64 regular season games and helped them to the final series where they downed the Philadelphia Ramblers in seven games.
The following season, he once again played all 64 games for the Clippers and once again led them to the EHL finals. This time, the Clippers fell to the Washington Presidents in seven games
In 1961-62, Les played his first season in the American Hockey League, appearing in 60 of 70 games for the Cleveland Barons. Binkley was honoured with the Dudley ‘Red’ Garrett Memorial Award as the league’s top first year player. The Barons finished first in the four team West Division. Cleveland lost to the Springfield Indians in the opening round of the Calder Cup playoffs. In an odd playoff format, the Indians were the top team in the East Division meaning the top two teams in the AHL were pitted against each other in the first round of the playoffs.
In 1965-66, again with the Cleveland Barons, Binkley was the recipient of the Harry ‘Hap’ Holmes Memorial Award as the goaltender with the lowest goals against average in the AHL. He played 66 of Cleveland’s 72 regular season games and all of their 12 playoff games. The Barons finished second in the West Division and reached the Calder Cup finals before bowing out to the Rochester Americans in six games.