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Derek Sanderson’s Battle Started At Age 7

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

The alcoholism began at age 7, his uncle Warren introducing him to beer during a Christmas party at the Sanderson home in Niagara Falls, Ontario. “Uncle Warnie,” noting that his brother Harold’s kid was getting big, handed him a beer that the future NHL Rookie of the Year quickly downed, much to his father’s chagrin.

“Oh, my dad was wild,’’ recalled Sanderson. “He turns to Warnie and says, ‘You gave my son a beer!?’ Then he grabs him by the throat, drags him out the front door, and heaves him over the railing and into a snowbank. Thank God we didn’t live in a condo!

“But that was it. I was on my way with booze and I never saw Warnie again. ‘Don’t you dare darken this door again!’ my dad yelled at him. And he didn’t.”...

In times of darkness, he said, friends like Harry Sinden, Bobby Orr, Johnny McKenzie, Ken Hodge, Phil Esposito, and others kept him going. But the biggest assist of all, he says, came at a hospital in St. Catharines, Ontario, in 1980, a hospital employee at his bedside after he was brought there after suffering an alcoholic blackout.

“He asked how bad I was,’’ said Sanderson, referring to the bedside attendant. “I told him, ‘If I drink, I puke the booze right out. I black out. I’m subject to seizures.’ And he says to me, ‘OK, on your knees and pray.’

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: derek+sanderson


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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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