Column: Behind the names in the world of sports
The Aspen Times
Behind the sporting names:
If your name is Hull, you’re likely never far from an ice rink.
But Aspen’s Blake Hull was, indeed, away from the ice for a long time before he skated back into the Aspen hockey scene.
Now, the member of hockey’s first family is a regular at the Aspen Ice Garden and the Lewis Ice Arena.
An Aspen resident since the late 1990s, Hull is back in hockey as the special events coordinator for Aspen Junior Hockey. And he’s coaching a juniors team that won the title at the recent Aspen Fall Faceoff tournament.
For years, Hull said, he avoided his hockey connection and rolled under the radar.
Many of his real estate clients had no idea he was the son of the great Bobby Hull and the brother of Brett Hull, two generational players in the world of hockey.
And that was fine by him.
But as time moved on, Blake said he saw an opportunity to boost hockey in Aspen by helping with special events and the Aspen Leafs Junior A team in the fledgling Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League.
Blake Hull, as tireless in working for junior hockey as he was as a player, is happy to be back.
Even if he never left.
TRICA BADER BINFORD/John Stockton
The news swept across the basketball landscape this week like a well-executed fastbreak when former NBA All-Star John Stockton accepted a position as an assistant coach for the Montana State women’s basketball team, where Stockton’s daughter is a senior point guard.
While Stockton’s basketball pedigree is well-known from his days at Gonzaga and in the NBA, he happened to be hired by a woman who was one of the all-time best Colorado high school basketball players who went on to set college records at Boise State and enjoy an extended career in the WNBA.
Tricia Bader Binford is the head coach of the women’s basketball team at Montana State, and she’ll forever be known as the best player ever from the Roaring Fork Valley.
Then Tricia Bader, she was an all-stater at Roaring Fork High School and a Colorado prep player of the year. With her Roaring Fork teammates, including Karen Nieslanik, Bader and the Rams won three consecutive high school state titles — 1989, ’90 and ’91.
In one of their championship seasons, the Rams scored more than 100 points in three different games.
Bader, also the conference 400-meter champion, played at Boise State, where she became a record-setting crowd favorite and three-time All-Big Sky selection. She graduated as the school’s all-time career assists leader.
Then, the WNBA.
Bader Binford was the 31st overall pick in the 1998 WNBA draft.
She played professionally for the Cleveland Rockers and the Utah Starzz. She also played professionally in Australia for two seasons.
While there, she set a single-game scoring record with 67 points.
Oh, and that was part of a quadruple-double.
Bader Binford, who used to light up the scoreboard in the Aspen Skierdome, also had 14 assists, 10 steals and 10 rebounds in her record-setting game as a professional in Australia.
She coached at her alma mater in Idaho and in 1996 was named the Idaho NCAA Woman of the Year. She was inducted into the Boise State Hall of Fame in 2001.
After coaching for two seasons at Utah State, Bader Binford took over at Montana State in Bozeman in 2005. She’s the all-time winningest coach in Montana State history. She’s now married with a son and a daughter.
Her high school basketball jersey is retired and hangs in a frame at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale.
TEJAY VAN GARDEREN
One of the elite professional cyclists in the world and an Aspen resident, Tejay van Garderen is more than happy to help a neighbor with a school assignment.
Decked out in his full BMC race kit, van Garderen cycled around and around as a young photographer shot pictures of the two-time winner of the USA Pro Challenge in his Aspen neighborhood.
Van Garderen’s wife, the former Jessica Phillips (an Aspen native), watched with daughter Rylan.
The three van Garderens were featured in a Giro helmet advertisement in cycling magazines this year.
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Aspen again is led by senior Christian Kelly at No. 1 singles and Alex Mosher at No. 2 singles. The pair held down those same spots last season, when the Skiers finished sixth overall.