Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Derek Sanderson
Known as "The Turk," Derek Sanderson was a tough centre who had it all and then lost everything.

Sanderson grew up in Niagara Falls, Ontario where he played for the hometown Flyers of the OHA. The highlight of his young career was winning the Memorial Cup championship in 1965. He went on to sign with the Boston Bruins where he played alongside Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito. Sanderson was awarded the Calder Trophy for best rookie, the year after Orr won, in his first full season with the team, in 1968. He became known as a tough guy who wouldn't back down from any fisticuffs and was likely the best two-way player in the game.

Winning two cups with the "Big Bad Bruins" in the 1969-70 and 1971-72 seasons helped Sanderson rise to celebrity, becoming one of hockey's first rebels. He grew his hair long and sported a moustache before it was fashionable, and he even hosted his own talk show. He lived the life of a playboy and carried it to extremes.

When the WHA was formed, the Philadelphia Blazers came calling with a contract and a large sum of money for The Turk. After the Bruins told Sanderson they couldn't match the offer of over $2.65 million, he bolted. Sanderson became the highest paid athlete in the world. This lasted for all of eight games in the WHA. His style both on and off the ice didn't sit well in Philly and the team bought out his contract. The Turk found himself back in a Bruins sweater for the rest of the season and then was traded to the Rangers in 1974.

Already with a drinking problem, Sanderson bounced around from team to team--the Blues, Canucks, and Penguins--until retiring from the game in 1978. After numerous bad investments and a drinking habit to support, he ended up on the mean streets of Chicago and New York. At one point, he waited for a bum to fall asleep on a bench so he could steel his booze.

After help from friends, Sanderson got the help he needed and went into rehab. His body was broken down from years of abuse, and he needed several surgeries to repair his hips so he could just walk. He now stands on his own two feet and guides other athletes away from the horrors that he put himself through. He is an investment specialist with Boston's State Street Research Company that helps athletes manage their money properly so they won't have to go through the life of Derek Sanderson.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1961-62 Niagara Falls Canucks OHA-B
1962-63 Niagara Falls Canucks OHA-B
1962-63 Niagara Falls Flyers OHA-Jr. 2 0 0 0 10 1 0 0 0 0
1962-63 Niagara Falls Flyers M-Cup 1 0 0 0 0
1963-64 Niagara Falls Flyers OHA-Jr. 42 12 15 27 42 4 0 1 1 0
1964-65 Niagara Falls Flyers OHA-Jr. 55 19 46 65 128 11 9 8 17 26
1965-66 Niagara Falls Flyers OHA-Jr. 48 33 43 76 238 6 6 0 6 72
1965-66 Boston Bruins NHL 2 0 0 0 0
1965-66 Oklahoma City Blazers CPHL 2 1 0 1 0 4 0 4 4 5
1965-66 Niagara Falls Flyers M-Cup 11 7 6 13 78
1966-67 Niagara Falls Flyers OHA-Jr. 47 41 60 101 193 13 8 17 25 70
1966-67 Boston Bruins NHL 2 0 0 0 0
1966-67 Oklahoma City Blazers CPHL 2 0 0 0 0
1967-68 Boston Bruins NHL 71 24 25 49 98 +11 4 0 2 2 9
1968-69 Boston Bruins NHL 61 26 22 48 146 +35 9 8 2 10 36
1969-70 Boston Bruins NHL 50 18 23 41 118 +8 14 5 4 9 72
1970-71 Boston Bruins NHL 71 29 34 63 130 +39 7 2 1 3 13
1971-72 Boston Bruins NHL 78 25 33 58 108 +25 11 1 1 2 44
1972-73 Philadelphia Blazers WHA 8 3 3 6 69
1972-73 Boston Bruins NHL 25 5 10 15 38 +11 5 1 2 3 13
1973-74 Boston Bruins NHL 29 8 12 20 48 +17
1973-74 Boston Braves AHL 3 4 3 7 2
1974-75 New York Rangers NHL 75 25 25 50 106 +10 3 0 0 0 0
1975-76 New York Rangers NHL 8 0 0 0 4 -8
1975-76 St. Louis Blues NHL 65 24 43 67 59 +13 3 1 0 1 0
1976-77 St. Louis Blues NHL 32 8 13 21 26 -8
1976-77 Kansas City Blues CHL 8 4 3 7 6
1976-77 Vancouver Canucks NHL 16 7 9 16 30 +5
1977-78 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 13 3 1 4 0 -6
1977-78 Tulsa Oilers CHL 4 0 0 0 0
1977-78 Kansas City Red Wings CHL 4 1 3 4 0
NHL Totals 598 202 250 452 911 56 18 12 30 187


OHA-Jr. Second All-Star Team (1966)
OHA-Jr. First All-Star Team (1967)
Calder Memorial Trophy (1968)
Selected by Miami-Philadelphia (WHA) in 1972 WHA General Player Draft, February 12, 1972. Signed as a free agent by Boston after securing release from Philadelphia (WHA), February, 1973. Traded to NY Rangers by Boston for Walt McKechnie, June 12, 1974. Traded to St. Louis by NY Rangers for NY Rangers' 1st round choice (previously acquired, NY Rangers selected Lucien DeBlois) in 1977 Amateur Draft, October 30, 1975. Traded to Vancouver by St. Louis for cash, February 18, 1977. Signed as a free agent by Pittsburgh, March 14, 1978.