Derek Sanderson’s autobiography was published recently. By all accounts, it’s a crazy story because this guy lived a crazy life. It’s amazing he’s still around to tell it. Check out a book review here.
I remember my Dad telling me about reading one of the sports columns of a Toronto paper back in the 70’s just after the Bruins had lost the ’71 finals to the Habs. The Bruins were still a very young team and had won their first cup with Orr just the year before and were the favourite that year as well. I believe the column was written by legendary sports columnist Milt Dunnell (a favourite of my Dad’s) and he described how some of the older Bruins, like Johnny Bucyk and Dallas Green left the dressing room quietly to avoid the press. They had enough experience (ie. they were not young athletes anymore) to know this was a blown opportunity.
And then there was Sanderson. My dad has repeated the line so often to me that it seems like he is quoting verbatim from the article, although it’s likely he is simply summarizing the essence of the picture Dunnell’s story created. It goes something like this. “Sanderson left the arena with a blonde on each arm. For him and the rest of the young Bruins, there are plenty of next years remaining.”
The irony, which my Dad has always loved, is that in the case of many other young, dynastic teams, this might well have been true. But for the Bruins, while they won the cup the next season, that marked the end of the party. Orr’s knee was effectively done at that point. Sanderson jumped to the WHA and his life ran aground on drugs and booze.