Drafted by the Colorado Rockies following his freshman season, Broten, born on this date in 1960, turned pro with the Rockies once the Gophers season concluded, appearing in two games.
He divided his time in 1981-82 between the Forth Worth Texans of the Central Hockey League (19 games) and Colorado of the NHL, where he scored his first NHL points with 15 goals and 39 points.
Broten moved with the Rockies franchise to New Jersey for the 1982-83 season, where they were renamed the Devils. He would play for the Devils for eight seasons, with his standout season being 1987-88 when he set career highs with 26 goals, 57 assists and 83 points. Additionally, the lowly Devils, who had never finished with a winning record or qualified for the playoffs, went on a run to the Wales Conference Finals by defeating higher seeded New York Islanders and Washington Capitals before falling to the Boston Bruins in seven games. Broten scored 16 points in 20 games during the postseason.
Broten would lead the Devils in scoring in 1983 and 1987 before a trade to the Minnesota North Stars during the 1989-90 season, which would bring to an end the stability he had enjoyed with the Devils. His stay back in Minnesota would be a short one, as he would only play 35 games during the second half of the season as a teammate to his brother Neal Broten. While a North Star, Aaron scored 9 goals and 18 points.
He was claimed by the Quebec Nordiques during the 1990 NHL Waiver Draft, but after just 20 games as a Nordique, he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs. After a 27 game stint with Toronto which ended prematurely due to a dislocated shoulder, Broten was again on the move, signing for the 1991-92 season with the Winnipeg Jets. Broten would see time in 25 games, scoring the final 4 goals and 9 points of his NHL career. He would also register four games that season with the Moncton Hawks of the AHL to close out his professional career.
Internationally, Broten was a regular for the United States on the international scene, beginning back in 1979 when he skated for the US at the World Junior Championships, debuting with 4 goals and 7 points in 5 games to lead the US in scoring.
He made his World Championship debut in 1981, and with the Devils regularly missing the NHL playoffs, Broten was available to answer his country's call again in 1982, 1986 and 1987. He also was on the American roster for the Canada Cup tournament in 1984 and 1987.
Unusually, six years after he played his final professional games, Broten suited up one final time in November of 1998 for the World Championship Qualifying Round, held in Klagenfurt, Germany, where the US defeated Kazakhstan, Estonia and Austria to advance to the World Championship the following May. Broten's participation was limited to the Qualifying Round, and he did not appear in May's World Championships proper.
Broten was a teammate to his brother Neal at the 1979 World Juniors, 1984 Canada Cup and again the 1998 World Championship Qualifying Round, which took place two seasons following the conclusion of Neal's NHL career. Also joining Aaron and Neal in 1998 was their younger brother Paul Broten, the only time the three of them would appear on the same roster, although Paul and Neal were teammates on the Dallas Stars in 1993-94 and 1994-95.
Aaron would finish his 12 year career with 186 goals and 515 points in 748 games and was inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007.
Today's featured jersey is a 1989-90 Minnesota North Stars Aaron Broten jersey worn during his brief stay in his home state as a pro. The first initial "A" as part of the name was necessary due to the presence of Aaron's brother Neal on the North Stars roster at the time.
The North Stars would add black trim to their white home jerseys for the 1981-82 season, but oddly not do the same for their green road jerseys until 1988! These beloved North Stars jerseys would remain in use through the 1990-91 season until replaced by a whole new look, which many feel hinted at the eventual move out of Minnesota, since all references to the "North" part of the club's name were now absent.