30 years, that’s how long it has been since former Boston Bruins Derek Sanderson took his last swig of alcohol or consumed any drug. The driving force behind his monumental lifestyle change, his wife and two sons.
“I’ve got responsibilities now. I don’t think I’d be sober today if I didn’t have my wife and two boys,” Sanderson said. ”I’ve got to make sure my boys get through college and my wife is cared for. It’s then you start to maybe feel you’re a little more successful than you were before.”(via Calgary Herald)
Sanderson played in 71 games with the Bruins and contributed 24 goals and 49 points during his time in Boston. He played alongside greats like Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito and went by the nickname ‘ Turk.’ He centered the defensive line with wingers Ed Westfall and Don Marcotte. However, the greatest moment of his career came when he made THE pass to Bobby Orr for the game-winning goal that won them the Stanley Cup. Yes, he is that guy.
Although that pass and goal have made history on its own, that’s not all he was known for in Boston. In fact, he was most commonly known for his lifestyle driving around in a silver Rolls Royce, wearing his mink fur coat and flashing diamonds around. He was even named in Cosmopolitan Magazine as one of the sexiest men in America, he was the subject of gossip columns and a frequent guest on television talk shows. In New York it was even suspected that baseball great Derek Sanderson Jeter was named after the celebrity, rather than his middle name taking after his father, Sanderson Jeter (although it is more likely).
After his fame in Boston and a short stint for the Philadelphia Blazers, Sanderson put all of his tim, effort and money into bad habits. He lost millions and was left penniless and found himself sleeping on park benches in New York. In 1979 it would be friend and former teammate Bobby Orr that would enroll Sanderson in rehab. He was able to beat his addictions and land a job as a sports broadcaster for NESN.
Sanderson is now touring around with his new autobiography Crossing The Line: The Outrageous Story of a Hockey Original (HarperCollins, $32.99). A nearly 400-page book co-authored by Kevin Shea. While a majority of us have seen or read The Kid, a novel about young superstar Sidney Crosby, this tale comes from a different place. A retired 66-year-old legend telling his tale of his time spent in one of the greatest organizations in the league and his trials and tribulations afterwards. He discusses his rise in Boston and winning two Stanley Cup to his gruelling addictions with drugs and alcohol and sleeping on park benches.
He disclosed to the Calgary Herald that he sees himself in panhandlers on the street nowadays and tries to help.
“I’ll say hello to a guy, give him a 20, give him 100 if I have it,” he said. “And I’ll say, ‘Listen, do something. You can get out of this.’ He might say, ‘Yeah, I just can’t right now.’ But I’ll tell him to give it a try. (via Calgary Herald)
Sanderson is a Boston celebrity, despite his downfall and addictions, he made the people of the city happy. He is and will always be known as one of the greatest players to ever set skates on Boston ice. That alone, for any true Bruins fan, is reason enough to give this book a chance. That and being in the same presence as this man (see above).