Today in Boston Bruins History: June 16
1946: Derek Sanderson (full name Derek Michael Sanderson) is born in Niagara Falls, Ontario. He first got noticed in juniors when he took on a guy playing for the Oshawa Generals named Bobby Orr, attracting the attention of scouts who were there to check out Orr. But he didn’t just fight in juniors–he was part of a Memorial Cup-winning Niagara Falls Flyers and he won the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy for leading OHL scorer. He debuted with the Boston Bruins in 1965-66, playing just two games in each of the first two seasons, but he won the Calder Trophy in his first full season (1967-68). Not only was he part of the 1970 and 1972 Stanley Cup champion teams, he was an integral part of Orr’s flying Cup-winning goal in 1970–he passed the puck to Orr for that goal. Sanderson was a character, a bit of a playboy who was named one of the sexiest men in America by Cosmopolitan Magazine. In 1972, he attempted to switch to the WHA Philadelphia Blazers on a $2.6 million contract, the most of any athlete in the world at the time. But it was not to be for a lot of different reasons, including financial issues with the Blazers, and he was bought out before the season’s end.
He returned to the Bruins for a season but was traded to the New York Rangers, where off the ice he developed an issue with alcohol and drugs. He continued to play well when healthy, but he was starting to be healthy less often, and he began to bounce around from team to team. Knee injuries forced his retirement in 1978 and he was not doing well at all, broke thanks to bad investments and sleeping on a park bench at one point. Orr gave him the assist this time, spending his own money to get Sanderson (and other people who needed help) into rehab. The fans of Boston gave Sanderson a second chance, fitting Orr’s characterization of Boston having the most loyal and decent people in the world. Sanderson got clean and took up broadcasting, plus he and Orr set up a financial advisory firm that would hopefully help other athletes avoid being broke like he was. Today he works in a similar capital management firm in Boston. He’s also written an autobiography set for release in October 2012.
1962: Tom Fergus is born in Chicago, Illinois. Fergus was drafted by the Bruins in 1980 and cracked a strong Boston lineup for 1981-82. He had a good first year with 39 points, but improved to at least 61 points in each season thereafter. When Barry Pederson was injured, Fergus occupied his role as top line center and set career highs, plus he played in the World Championship in 1985. But when Pederson felt better, the team was awash with big scoring centers and so Fergus went to the Toronto Maple Leafs, where he assumed their role of top line center and continued to produce well. He did battle a viral infection that caused him to miss a lot of action, but when he was healthy, he returned to good form. However, a groin injury hobbled him again and forced him to sit out the entire 1990-91 season, and a weak start upon his return put him up on waivers. Vancouver claimed him and he did well once again, though he was often used as just a utility player. When the Canucks released him, he played in Switzerland for two years and retired in 1995. Now he lives outside Toronto, is in their alumni association and has a promotional clothing company called Blue Leaf Limited.
1983: Pascal Pelletier is born in Labrador City, Newfoundland and Labrador. Pelletier, who is just the third player hailing from Labrador to play in the NHL, went undrafted and first premiered with the ECHL Louisiana IceGators and then the Gwinnett Gladiators. 2005 saw him signed to a contract with the AHL Providence Bruins that turned into an NHL contract in August 2006. He played six games as a Boston Bruin before a trade to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2008. With the Blackhawks, as well as subsequent stints in Columbus and St. Louis, he tended to spent most of his time in the AHL, which may have led him to look elsewhere, to the Swiss leagues, as he did in 2010.
1990: The NHL holds the 1990 Entry Draft at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver. Originally it was supposed to be held at Pacific Coliseum, which was the Canucks’ arena at the time, but a threat of a strike by unionized workers at the Coliseum necessitated a change. Among the draftees in 1990 were Martin Brodeur and Jaromir Jagr, but here are the Bruins’ selections.
Bryan Smolinski (21st overall): Smolinski finished college hockey with Michigan State before joining the Bruins at the end of 1992-93. In his first full season, he had 31 goals and 51 points, plus a decent sophomore season, but he was traded to Pittsburgh in summer 1995. He spent a year with them before contract disagreements led to him sitting out and playing in the IHL. The New York Islanders picked him up and he played there for three years until he was involved in an eight-player trade with Los Angeles. He spent four seasons there, three with Ottawa and time with Chicago, Vancouver and Montreal. Interestingly, as part of the Canadiens, he played his 1,000th game–against the team that drafted him. He last played for the new IHL’s Flint Generals in 2009-10.
Cam Stewart (63rd overall): Stewart played for four seasons with Boston, though he only put up 10 points in that time and his games played dropped precipitously from 57 in his first year to five in the next. With the Florida Panthers and the then-new Minnesota Wild, he played a lot more games and scored more too, but then he retired due to concussion-related issues. Now he is in an assistant coach and adviser position with the Wild’s AHL club, the Houston Aeros.
Jerry Buckley (84th overall): Not much is known of Buckley.
Mike Bales (105th overall): Bales, a goalie who played for Ohio State from 1989 to 1992, did not have a very long career with the Boston Bruins. Actually, your standard 30-minute TV show is longer than his career with Boston–just part of one 1993 game against New Jersey. He spent time with Providence, though, and a free agency signing with Ottawa led to him playing more with the parent club. Time with Buffalo and Dallas did not. Bales tried his luck in Europe with the British, German and Swedish leagues. Today he is a scout and goalie development coach for Pittsburgh.
Mark Woolf (126th overall): Woolf never played a single game with Boston, but he did play with lots of ECHL, AHL, West Coast, British, German and Austrian clubs until 2007.
Jim Mackey (147th overall):
John Gruden (168th overall): Gruden played for four years at Ferris State and then had three seasons with the Bruins, bouncing back and forth between parent and minor club. Free agency sent him to Ottawa, he missed most of 2000-01 with a shoulder injury and he spent time with the German leagues before playing for Washington, though a concussion forced him out of much of 2003-04 and sent him into retirement. Now he coaches a high school team in Michigan and is with the Red Wings alumni.
Darren Wetherill (189th overall):
Dean Capuano (210th overall): Not much is known of these two players.
Andy Bezeau (231st overall): Bezeau never played a Boston Bruins game, but he did spend quite a lot of time in the minors, racking up penalty minutes and often leading the old IHL in PIM. He did play a single game with Providence before retiring, though. When he retired, he had 3,477 penalty minutes to his name, 18th highest in minor league history.
Ted Miskolczi (252nd overall): Not much is known of Miskolczi.
2011: Just after the Stanley Cup win, the Bruins website unveils a nice photo gallery of 2010-11 in pictures. Check it out here.
Click here to read more Today in Boston Bruins History articles.