Neal Broten is regarded as one of the best, if not the best hockey player the state of Minnesota has ever produced. The native of Roseau is the only player to have played on teams that won the NCAA hockey championship (University of Minnesota, 1979), the Olympic Gold Medal (Team USA, 1980) and the Stanley Cup (New Jersey Devils, 1995).
Following his gold medal performance in 1980, Broten returned to the University of Minnesota and scored 71 points in 36 games and was named the first recipient of the Hobey Baker Memorial Award in 1981, given annually to the top American-born player in college hockey.
Broten then signed a contract with his hometown team, the Minnesota North Stars, and skated in three regular season NHL games and 19 playoff games as the North Stars advanced to the Stanley Cup finals, falling to the New York Islanders in five games.
Other highlights of his hockey career in the 1980s include an infamous fight with Wayne Gretzky during the 1982-83 season. Broten also played in two NHL All-Star Games (1983, 1986) and was the first American player to score more than 100 points in a single season when he registered 29 goals and 76 assists in 80 games with the North Stars in 1985-86.
Broten collected 216 goals and 444 assists in 639 regular season games with Minnesota from 1980-90 and recorded another 47 points in 74 Stanley Cup Playoff games in the 1980s as the North Stars advanced to the playoffs every season but 1987 and 1988.
Other hockey accomplishments include being a member of the 1995 Stanley Cup champion New Jerseys Devils, who were coached by current Wild Head Coach Jacques Lemaire. Broten retired in 1997, having recorded 923 points in 1099 games with the North Stars, Dallas, New Jersey and Los Angeles. He was also named a recipient of the Lester Patrick Trophy in 1998.
1910s: Frank Winters
1920s: Frank "Moose" Goheen
1930s: Doc Romnes
1940s: Frank Brimsek
1950s: John Mayasich
1960s: Tommy Williams
1970s: Bill Nyrop
1980s: Neal Broten
1990s: Phil Housley
2000s: Jamie Langenbrunner