BIRTHPLACE: Roseau, Minn.
BORN: November 29, 1959
TEAMS/ASSOCIATIONS: Minnesota North Stars, Dallas Stars, New Jersey Devils
Perhaps nothing says hockey and Minnesota louder than that of Neal Broten. He is without question the Land of 10,000 Lakes’ greatest and most beloved player, having seemingly done it all out on the frozen pond.
After leading his Roseau Rams to a pair of high school tournament bids, the speedy forward went on to play an instrumental role as a freshman in leading the Gophers to an NCAA championship in 1979. He notched the winning goal in the Finals against North Dakota and assisted on another which gave him a total of 50 for the year, breaking a 25-year-old school record. He was named WCHA rookie-of-the-year and went on to dominate at the collegiate level.
In 1980, Broten joined Gopher Coach Herb Brooks on the 1980 U.S. Olympic team, where he played a big part in bringing home the gold. From there, he returned to the U of M to play with his younger brother, Aaron, and in 1981, the All-American was named as the first ever recipient of the Hobey Baker Award, honoring the nation’s top player.
From there he joined his hometown North Stars, who were in the midst of a playoff run that took them all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. It would be the beginning of an amazing NHL career, that was later highlighted by another Stanley Cup run in 1991. The North Stars moved to Dallas in 1993, and so did Neal. He was traded to New Jersey in 1995, however, where he finally won a Cup with the Devils.
Fifteen of Broten’s 17 years were spent with the North Stars and Dallas Stars, as he closed his illustrious career as the franchise’s all time leader in scoring, assists, games played, seasons, shorthanded goals, playoff games and playoff assists. His No. 7 was later retired by the Dallas Stars in 1998.