It is never easy to grow up in the shadows of an older and highly successive sibling, let alone 2. It is even harder when you follow the same career choice and path as high school and college sporting legends who went on to professional and international fame and fortune.
But that is what Paul Broten had to do in order to follow his own hockey dreams.
Following in the footsteps of brothers Neal and Aaron, the younger Paul always had to follow the legends of his brothers, be it in high school, the University of Minnesota, the NHL or the US national team.
Despite his pedigree, Paul was never quite found the success of his brothers. He was drafted by the New York Rangers in 1984 before joining the University of Minnesota where he majored in Human Relations. Paul was the only of the three brothers to stay in school and graduate with a degree.
Although he was the biggest of the three, Paul was still tiny by NHL standards at 5'11" and 170lbs. As the NHL closed out the 1980s, it was tougher and tougher for diminutive players to establish themselves. Even Broten's familial history didn't encourage NHL teams.
Upon graduation Paul first tried to find hockey glory on the international stage, competing for a spot on the 1988 US Olympic team. However a knee injury which later required surgery hampered his Olympic bid.
He fully recovered from the knee surgery and joined the Rangers in 1989-90. He was immediately shifted from his natural center position to right wing, a position he experiment with in college. As a pro he would remain a right winger for the rest of his career.
Between 1989 and 1996 Paul played with the Rangers, St. Louis and Dallas, where he got the chance to play with brother Neal. In total he played 322 games he scored 46 goals and 101 points. Other than his family connections, his NHL career may best be remembered for once being traded (by Dallas to St. Louis) for ace defensive forward Guy Carbonneau.
Though he retired from pro hockey in 1996, one of his greatest hockey memories came in the spring of 1999. With the United States unthinkably close to slipping out of the A pool in the world hockey championships, Paul, along with brothers Neal and Aaron and former standout Joey Mullen dressed for Team USA in a qualifying tournament in the 1999 World championships. Thanks to the retired veterans, Team USA did qualify, edging out Kazakhstan and Austria. For the Broten brothers, it was the only time all three would play together on the same team.