The Niagara Falls Flyers were the kings of the castle in the mid 1960’s and Derek Sanderson was their centrepiece. Sanderson played with the Flyers for four years from 1963-64 to 1966-67. The team was sponsored by the Boston Bruins at the time and Derek was a Bruins prospect right from the word go.
In 1964-65, the Flyers won the Robertson Cup as OHA playoff champions. The team moved on to win the Memorial Cup as Canada’s top major junior team.
In 1965-66, Sanderson showed how multi-faceted he could be. In 48 games with Niagara Falls, Derek scored 33 goals and totalled 76 points. He also found the time to sit out 238 minutes in the penalty box. In his final season in the OHA, Sanderson won the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy as the league’s top scorer. Derek totalled 101 points in just 47 games and still was able to spend 193 minutes in the sin bin.
In his first year with the Bruins, 1967-68, Derek was the National Hockey League’s top rookie, winning the Calder Memorial Trophy. He played in the NHL from 1967-68 to 1977-78 with the Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues, Vancouver Canucks and Pittsburgh Penguins. Sanderson was to be the star of the newly formed World Hockey Association in their 1972-73 inaugural season. He played a total of eight games with the Philadelphia Blazers, tallying six points and 69 PIM. He was back with the Bruins before the season was over.
Sanderson was a member of two Stanley Cup winning teams with the 1970 and 1972 Boston Bruins. In 1970-71, he achieved his highest goal total in the NHL with 29. His best season for total points came with the St. Louis Blues in 1975-76 with 67.