There are certain names in sport that immediately signify excellence, and in Golden Gopher hockey the name "œBroten" does exactly that. The Broten family has sent three brothers through the system, all leaving memorable impressions on the program. The middle brother, Aaron Broten
, is certainly no exception. Aaron played for the Gophers in 1979-80 and 1980-81 seasons before leaving early for an 11-year NHL career.
Broten's impact on the Gophers was immediate, as he set the freshman points record that lasted 21 years. After being drafted by the Colorado Rockies (an NHL franchise at the time) in the 1980 NHL Draft, Broten put together an 11-year NHL career including nine years with the New Jersey Devils and stints with the North Stars, Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, and Quebec Nordiques.
The Roseau, Minn., native played 748 NHL games and scored 186 goals with 329 assists. Recently the Gopher legend spent time with GopherHole.com talking about the program's current success, the 1981 NCAA National Title game, as well as the infamous puck-through-the-net blown call against Northern Michigan.GopherHole.com: Where has your post Gopher career taken you?
Aaron Broten: After my two years at Minnesota, I was able to put together an 11-year NHL career. I played with the Colorado Rockies, New Jersey Devils, North Stars, Quebec, and Toronto. Once I retired from hockey, I returned to Roseau, where my family and I currently live. I spent a few years in the car business and the last five years in the investment business. GH.com: How did you like playing for the North Stars?
Broten: It was a dream come true just like playing for the Gophers was. I obviously grew up a huge Stars fan, and to get to come back home and play for them with my brother on the team was an incredible experience. I just wish it would have lasted longer than a year. GH.com: Thinking back to your days as a Gopher, which game/games stick out the most and why?
Broten: There are two games that definitely stick out more than any other and more than 20 years later, they are unfortunately still fresh in mind. The first is the loss to Wisconsin in the 1981 title game in Duluth. The other one is when I scored a goal against Northern Michigan in the NCAA tournament, and it went through the net, and the net judge didn't see it go in. We lost by one goal. GH.com: What former teammates/coaches do you most often keep in contact with?
Broten: I keep in touch with quite a few former Gopher teammates. Obviously my brothers (Neal and Paul Broten) are the two I talk with most often, but there are a lot of guys that I still talk with. It's a tight knit group, and it's fun to go to games together or just to get together with our families. GH.com: What does it mean to you to be a Golden Gopher?
Broten: It's humbling. I think that's the best description. Gopher hockey is like Notre Dame football or UCLA basketball. There are so many legendary players that have come through the system, and to be mentioned in the same group as many of these guys is an honor in itself. I take great pride in seeing the current state of the program and would like to think I had an impact on the program. GH.com: Who was the best teammate you ever played with and why?
Broten: My brother Neal was the best player I ever played with. He made everyone on the team better. He made the average players good and the good players great. That is a sign of a special player. GH.com: If you could come back and suit up against one team, who would it be and why?
Broten: I would love to suit up again versus Wisconsin. Anytime we played against them there was a little something extra in our play and the wins meant a little bit more than against another team. Yep, I'd love to play the Badgers again. GH.com: If you could change a thing or two about your time as a Gopher, what would it be?
Broten: It would have been nice to finish my last two years with the team and not have signed a pro contract after my sophomore season. GH.com: If you could give any advice to the current Gopher team, what would it be?
Broten: I would tell them to enjoy the process and their time at Minnesota. The practices get tiring, but its where you learn the aspects of a good work ethic and perseverance. I know that Coach Lucia works them hard, but they will be better players and people because of it.Talk about Minnesota Gopher sports in the GopherHole Message Board Community.