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November 15, 2012

Derek Sanderson's rise, fall told in new book

The Turk talks

TORONTO — Derek Sanderson recalls mixing cocktails in a salad spinner and consuming four bottles of Soave Bolla wine before noon “just to get square.”

Then there were the pills and drugs and the women the former Boston Bruins star partied with.

Sanderson tells it all in a new book, “Crossing the Line: The Outrageous Story of a Hockey Original.”

“I’m different,” Sanderson said. “I have found that I really am different. There’s nobody like me. And not that it’s good or bad.”

Written with Kevin Shea, the book goes from a spur-of-the-moment cash purchase of a Rolls-Royce to sleeping under a bridge and stealing bottles of booze.

Known as the Turk, Sanderson won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie in 1967-68. He played for the Bruins, Philadelphia Blazers (WHA), New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues and Vancouver Canucks before ending his NHL career with a brief stop in Pittsburgh in 1977-78.

He had 202 goals, 250 assists and 911 penalty minutes in 598 NHL games. ‘In his heyday, he could score, kill penalties and fight.

Away from the ice, the flamboyant Sanderson partnered with Joe Namath in a bar before starting his own string of restaurants.

He would not bat an eye at gathering a group of friends — including three actresses and two Playboy Bunnies — and flying them to Hawaii on the spot.

The conditions were they had to leave with nothing more than the clothes on their back and they couldn’t phone anybody.

Sanderson put everything on his American Express card.

Sanderson once fell asleep on the beach and woke up with a nasty sunburn on the left side of his face and back.

“I had a line starting on my forehead, running right down the middle of my nose,” he wrote.

Recovered to the point he could golf, he bought two sets of clubs and everything else needed to play.

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