That’s Robbie Bina in foreground at the end of his college hockey career, April 2008.
Bina has been signed by the Springfield Falcons (AHL) to a professional contract. It’s a one-year deal and he could be in Stockton (ECHL) for the entire season.
Bina has a connection to the Edmonton Oilers, at least some of the kids Edmonton drafted over the past few seasons. He was a teammate of Matt Greene at UND and was involved in a rather famous incident in college that left him with a broken neck.
Quoting USCHO: On March 18 (2005) in a game between Denver and UND, the 5-8, 180-pound Bina was checked from behind by 6-4, 215-pound Pioneer forward Geoff Paukovich, sending him crashing head-first into the boards. He was immobilized, carried on a stretcher from the Xcel Energy Center to Regions Medical Center in St. Paul.
As for what kind of player we’re dealing with, I’ve seen a lot of comparisons to Brian Rafalski. It seems an almighty stretch based on size (Rafalski is 5-10, 200 and Bina is 5-8, 180) and progress (Bina is finishing up college hockey at age 25 and Rafalski was entering his third year of pro hockey in SM-LIIGA at the same age). He sounds like a fun guy to cheer for, though.