October 29, 2012

Derek Sanderson: Crossing The Line

Derek Sanderson's story is almost unbelievable. The Theoren Fleury of his day, Sanderson had it all. Hockey stardom and celebrity. He was fast on the ice and faster off of it. He was hockey's playboy of the 1970s. He played hard and partied harder.

At one point he signed a contract that made him the highest paid athlete in the entire world. More than Pele, Dr. J, and Bobby Hull.

Not long after signing that contract he lost it all. Alcohol and drugs drained him of his money. He was sleeping on park benches and under bridges in Central Park, even begging for money for a short period of time. Somehow Derek Sanderson had hit rock bottom.

Sanderson, with the help of friends and family, got back on track and put his life back in order. It is an admirable story that Sanderson has been telling for years. Finally he has brought it to bookshelves everywhere in Derek Sanderson: Crossing the Line.

Buy The Book: Amazon.ca - Chapters - Amazon.com

Sanderson enlisted the writing expertise of veteran writer Kevin Shea for this autobiography. It was an excellent choice. Shea nicely finds Sanderson's genuine voice and presents him exactly as he really is - as a good guy with an unbelievable story to tell. It's books like this where I'm truly amazed at the writers ability. If I didn't know any better I'd swear all Shea did was transcribe his story. Of course Shea did a heck of lot more than that, but reading the book makes me feel like I'm just listening to "Turk" telling his story. Amazing job.

At one point the highest-paid athlete in the world, Sanderson played with and against the era's legends, winning two Stanley Cups and assisting on Bobby Orr's famous diving goal in 1970. Off the ice, "Turk" was one of a kind. He drove a burgundy Rolls-Royce, wore a fox coat and, when asked what winning the Stanley Cup meant to him said, "The difference in the money is whether I take a college chick to Cape Cod or a Playmate to France." But behind the glory, Sanderson was an alcoholic and an addict. He bottomed out, losing it all, and ended up sleeping under bridges. At one point he was so sick, he had to use crutches to walk.

Crossing the Line is about Sanderson's crazy days as a player but also about his road back to health. Sanderson has spoken to hundreds of thousands of young people about the dangers of his former lifestyle and now helps young athletes and others to avoid the pitfalls of instant fame. Sanderson does not hold back in this highly entertaining and truly inspirational book.

Buy The Book: Amazon.ca - Chapters - Amazon.com


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