Derek “Turk” Sanderson: A Boston legend

Combine a flashy style of play with quick hands and quick legs, throw in a jolt that fits well with the beautiful look of his movie-star, blend well with his fairness and you have young Derek Sanderson, better known by his friends and teammates As “Turkish”.

Born and raised in Niagara Falls, Ontario, he played his junior hockey for the NF Flyers. Turkey led his team to the Memorial Cup in 1965, a symbol of junior hockey dominance in Canada, and in 1967 he was the recipient of the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy as the top scorer in the OHL.

Derek Sanderson of Boston Bruins # 17
Boston, MA – 1972: Derek Sanderson # 17 of the Boston Bruins talks with goaltenders Eddie Johnston # 1 and John Adams # 31 at the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts before the 1972 NHL game. (Photo by Melchio Digiacomo / Getty Images)

Instinctively, Derek always understood the value of the “big stage”. In 1966, Boston Bruins Management decided to host a game between the Sanderson-led Niagara Falls Flyers and the Bobby Orr-led Oshawa Generals at Boston Gardens in the middle of a sailor-bus season to showcase their talents. . Winning that night was not Sanderson’s agenda; There was a quarrel by tempting others. Scouts and fans take notes. A year later two emerging superstars were teammates of Bruins.

Calder Trophy, Stanley Cup and Trouble

Playing with the Bruins in 1967-68, he scored 24 goals, including 25 assists, and won the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year.

Despite playing with Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Gary Chivers and Ed Westfall’s Hall of Fame lineup,

Derek Sanderson Bruins
Steve Garfield / Flickr (THW Archives)

Became the favorite of Turkish fans and the most exciting player on ice to many; With him on the ice you never knew what would happen next.

Those early years in Boston were the pinnacle of his life. Fame and fortune came his way. He drove a Silver Rolls Royce, owned a nightclub, partnered with Joe Namth in Bachelors Three, New York and Boston, and was able to enter every night with his full-length mink coat and a new blonde in his hand.

Perhaps the most famous goal in the history of hockey is the number of wins in the 1970 Bruins Stanley Cup final. The image of Bobby Aur flying in the air after whipping St. Louis goalkeeper Glenn Hall is incredibly reminiscent of most hockey fans, Bruin fans or not. That perfect pass, zipped from behind the goal line or set up, was by Derek Sanderson. (Watch the video)

“I made the baby famous,” he joked.

Sanderson Upstart WHA

After winning a second Stanley Cup two years later, Boston fans couldn’t believe the summer news that Sanderson had jumped into the upstart WHA, signing a 6 2.6 million deal with the Philadelphia Blazers. His new contract, which does not match the Bruins, makes him the highest paid athlete in the world at the time. Derek knew how to grab a title.

During the night opening in Philadelphia, there was a problem with the ice and disappeared under the board. The referees were forced to cancel the game. As captain of the Blazers, Derek felt obliged to explain the situation to fans. As a promotion, every patron present at the club was given a souvenir orange twist. As he began his speech on the ice in the center, a puck was thrown at him in protest of the cancellation. A while ago, it was raining cats and Captain Derek had to rush back into the dressing room to save his skin.

Unfortunately, the Philadelphia Sorti did not have a happy ending. Severe knee injury

Derek Sanderson
Turk Sanderson (THW Archives)

Six games in the season left him indefinitely. A few Smart-Alec quotes in the press angered his new owners, and the team bought him for 1 1 million before the end of the season. Although his rights were returned to the Bruins, they traded him to the New York Rangers at the end of the season.

Derek’s off-ice problems with alcohol and drugs were taking away his on-ice talent. Gradually he lost his magic and he struggled with those addictions for several years after giving up hockey. His lifestyle has finally left him destitute. In 1980, with the goodwill of Bobby Orr, he underwent rehabilitation at Stay. Katherine’s Ontario, and she’s been quiet ever since.

Bruins’ organization, fans, and former teammates rallied around rehabilitated Sanderson, and NESN hired him as a color man on its hockey broadcasts. After his broadcast career, he went on to work as a financial advisor to young hockey players who may feel the same dilemma when hitting the “excessive, too early” syndrome.

Boston fans remember him. The Turks always came to play, night after night. He was as hard as nails. He and Ed Westfall were considered the best penalty-kill pair of their era. His fights were as legendary as his charms, while his stagnation and firmness in the corners was his trademark. On the ice, he did it all.

Derek Sanderson was really one of a kind.

** Originally published in July 2010

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