In the fall of 1955, he signed a pro contract with the Detroit Red Wings. That year he was used in three games, but he failed to make the scoresheet. The 1956-57 and 1957-58 seasons were spent in Edmonton with the Flyers of the WHL. Midway through that second year in Edmonton, Burton got the call to rejoin the Red Wings in the NHL. It turned out to be a 26-game stint, with Burton scoring one assist. The following year his time was split between the Seattle Totems of the WHL and the Red Wings. In 14 games with Detroit, he scored one assist.
The next three years of Burton's pro career were spent in Sudbury with the Wolves of the EPHL. He consistently provided steady offense, posting seasons of 58, 36 and 49-point seasons.
The majority of the 1962-63 campaign saw Burton back in Edmonton with the Flyers of the WHL. In the spring of 1963, he was moved to the Pittsburgh Hornets of the AHL where he dressed for three games. Burton also played a year with the EHL's Charlotte Checkers before leaving hockey for what was a three-year retirement. He returned to play one more year of pro hockey in 1967-68 with the EHL's Florida Rockets. In 52 games, he scored seven times and had 27 points before deciding to hang up the skates for good.
Hockey was something which certainly ran in Burton's family. His uncle was Larry Aurie, a star player with the Detroit Red Wings in the 1930s. Burton is perhaps best remembered for his passionate pleas along with other family members to have Aurie's jersey retired by the Red Wings, which as of now, has yet to happen. "Not hanging up Larry's number would be compared to the Yankees' not retiring Lou Gehrig's number, just because he was from the 1930s and now forgotten just because it's all old stuff now," Burton was once quoted. "It's like saying that war heroes don't mean anything, just because they're not around anymore."
Five Red Wings have had their jersey numbers retired; Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Sid Abel, Terry Sawchuk and Alex Delvecchio. Aurie's number six has not been worn since he retired in 1939, with the exception of Burton who wore it as a tribute to his uncle in 1957-58. Response by the Red Wings' organization has served only to confuse the matter further, with officials saying the number will not be retired, yet will never worn again by any other player.
Courtesy of the Hockey Hall of Fame
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