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Derek Sanderson's life profiled in NBC Sports Films' first documentary

"Center of Attention: The Unreal Life of Derek

"Center of Attention: The Unreal Life of Derek Sanderson" premieres on Monday night on NBCSN. Sanderson is a hockey player who used to play for a lot of teams, ost famously the Bruins, in the 1970s. Credit: NBC

The Peacocks decided to jump into the crowded sports documentary field with the launch of NBC Sports Films, whose first project is a keeper - with bonus points if, like me, you are old and a hockey fan.

Or, OK, if you are young and have an interest in old-time hockey.

"Center of Attention: The Unreal Life of Derek Sanderson," premieres after Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final on NBCSN Monday night and is loaded with fantastic archival footage of the life and times of former Bruin and, briefly, Ranger.

On the ice, Sanderson helped the Bruins win two Stanley Cups - setting up Bobby Orr's iconic series-winner in 1970 - while tormenting the Rangers and their fans, and vice versa.

Off the ice, he was the Joe Namath of hockey, and briefly partnered with Broadway Joe in the nightclub business. As one TV announcer of the time describes him in the film: "Derek digs long hair, with-it clothes, groovy chicks and hip talk."

Eventually Sanderson went astray, starting with an ill-fated WHA contract that for a time made him the highest-paid athlete in team sports and ending with alcohol and drug problems that landed him sleeping on a bench in Central Park.

Sanderson finally went sober in 1980, became a successful TV analyst and financial advisor and remains alive and relatively well at 68, although getting around is not easy after 10 hip surgeries.

Credit in large part his old hockey pals, especially Orr, one of eight Hall of Famers interviewed in the documentary.

New York Sports