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Binningtons bond, come together through hockey

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues

Jordan Binnington doesn't get to see his dad very much these days.

There are a couple of good reasons for that. The first one is that his dad spends half the year living in Gravenhurst, Ontario and the other half living in St. Petersburg, Florida - neither of which Jordan can visit often during hockey season.

Another reason is because Jordan's parents split when he was a kid, and that means he has to alternate which parent he visits for the holidays. This time, Christmas was spent with mom.

By Jordan's count, it had been four months since he had last seen his dad, but a call up to the St. Louis Blues back in January changed all that.

John Binnington was there at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia to see his son's first career NHL start on Jan. 7 - an impressive 3-0 shutout win over the Flyers. And he was also there to see his first win at home - a 28-save effort over the Montreal Canadiens at Enterprise Center on Jan. 10.

"It's been exciting," John said of seeing his son finally achieve his dreams of playing in the NHL. "I like to see him finally get to where he's been striving to get to. It's just been so enjoyable."

Because of Jordan's continued success, he has solidified his spot with the Blues. And thanks to the Dad's Trip this week to Fort Lauderdale and Tampa Bay, Jordan and John have gotten some quality father/son time together.

"I'm really happy because I've always wanted to do something like this," Jordan told stlouisblues.com. "You always see videos and social media of the Dad's Trip and I think he was excited about it. He's had a lot of fun so far. It's cool that he gets to experience the charter flights and the meals - he's a big eater - so he's having a good time with that.

"We didn't really have any plans to see each other before this," Jordan added. "I hadn't seen him since August, didn't get there for Christmas, so with my first NHL game and now this, this Father's Trip has been pretty special for us to get some one-on-one time and hang out a bit."

Video: Binnington celebrates first shutout with family

John has watched three games now in person, which includes Tuesday's come-from-behind win against the Florida Panthers in which Jordan made 22 saves to secure another victory - his seventh in nine career starts.

"I saw a video of all the dads celebrating and there was my dad, finishing his beer," Jordan said. "He's a funny guy. He's happy, and I'm happy we got the win last night for him and for the dads."

John was instrumental in helping his son get to the NHL. It started with picking Jordan up every day after school and driving him to practice. When Jordan got more serious about hockey, John signed him up for nine-week hockey camps in the summer and even found him a goalie coach to work with.

"He was pretty determined. He was in the rinks quite a bit," John said. "He had the same minor league coach all the way through, they were on the ice five or six hours and played all through the summer time. There were never any breaks."

Jordan's hard work led to him being drafted by the Blues way back in 2011. Since then, he has played minor-league games for the Peoria Rivermen, Chicago Wolves, the ECHL's Kalamazoo Wings, the Providence Bruins and the San Antonio Rampage.

At one point, he wondered whether his big break would ever come.

"We'd offer encouragement and support for him, but it's a tough battle (trying to make it to the NHL)," John said. "I told him that not everyone gets there. You just have to keep working at it trying to achieve your dreams."

"My dad has always been watching and has done his best to keep me focused and honest," Jordan said. "He says you've got to work hard, stay humble, just keep working hard. So I did."

Since making his first career start in Philadelphia, Jordan is 7-1-1 with a 1.67 goals-against average, a .931 save-percentage and one shutout. He ranks second in the League in wins, fourth in goals-against average and eighth in save-percentage since Jan. 7. He also became just the second Blues goaltender in franchise history to record a shutout in his first career start and was named the NHL's Second Star of the Week in mid-January.

Some good things are worth waiting for. And they are even better when you can share them with family.

"You have to say you're proud to see it happen for him," John said. "But it's also a team game. You win as a team, you lose as a team. His team is rallying, and it's good to see Jordan be part of the solution and get where he's been striving to get to."

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