Geoff Sanderson

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Geoff Sanderson
Geoff Sanderson.jpg
Born (1972-02-01) February 1, 1972 (age 47)
Hay River, Northwest Territories, Canada
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 190 lb (86 kg; 13 st 8 lb)
Position Left Wing
Shot Left
Played for Hartford Whalers
Carolina Hurricanes
Vancouver Canucks
Buffalo Sabres
Columbus Blue Jackets
Phoenix Coyotes
Philadelphia Flyers
Edmonton Oilers
National team  Canada
NHL Draft 36th overall, 1990
Hartford Whalers
Playing career 1991–2008

Geoffrey M. Sanderson (born February 1, 1972) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey left winger, most notably for the Hartford Whalers and Columbus Blue Jackets of the National Hockey League (NHL).

Playing career[edit]

Drafted by the Hartford Whalers 36th overall in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft, Sanderson made his NHL debut at the tail end of the 1990–91 season when he was called up by the Whalers. He was on the roster for their first round playoff loss and was then sent to bolster their well established AHL affiliate the Springfield Indians who would go on to win the Calder Cup. After playing in 64 games in his first full season for the club in 1991–92 the Whalers headed to the playoffs. In the 1st round they found themselves trailing the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 late in the 2nd period of Game 7 when Sanderson scored his first career playoff goal to tie the game. There would be no scoring in the 3rd period and eventually the Canadiens would go on to win in double overtime. Over his next five years in Hartford Sanderson would score more than 30 goals in every season with the exception of the 94-95 lockout season, but the Whalers would miss the playoffs each year.

He remained with the franchise as they moved out of Hartford to become the Carolina Hurricanes but halfway through the 1997-98 NHL season he would be traded to the Vancouver Canucks for a few games before moving again, this time to the Buffalo Sabres. In Buffalo he would not enjoy the same amount of Scoring Line ice time he had seen in Hartford, but he would by far see the most playoff time of his career. In the 1st round the Sabres defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 to set up a Quarterfinal matchup with the Canadiens. In game 1 Sanderson would score to make it 2-0 Sabres midway through the 1st period. The Sabres wouldn't score again in regulation as Montreal fought their way back to force overtime, but just over 4 minutes into overtime Sanderson scored the game winning goal in front of the home crowd to give the Sabres a 1-0 series lead. Buffalo would win game 2 and were off to a good start in game 3 when Saku Koivu scored for the Canadiens to tie the game 3-3 early in the 2nd period, but twenty-one seconds later, Sanderson scored to give the Sabres the lead back, and immediately crush the Montreal momentum. Late in the 2nd Montreal would tie the game again, and this game would also go into overtime, but in double overtime Michael Peca scored the game winner for Buffalo to give the Sabres complete command of the series. The Sabres would complete the sweep and were cruising through the playoffs having only lost one game, but so were the Washington Capitals whom would go on to beat Buffalo 4 games to 2 in the Eastern Conference Finals.

During the 1998-99 NHL season the Sabres would continue their winning ways and Sanderson would continue contributing putting up respectable 3rd line numbers. He didn't score any goals in the first two rounds of the playoffs but the Sabres swept the Ottawa Senators and then dispatched the Boston Bruins in six games to once again find themselves in the Eastern Conference Finals, this time against their cross lake rival the Toronto Maple Leafs. In game 1 the Sabres were leading the Leafs 4-3 more than halfway through the 3rd period when Sanderson scored his first goal of the playoffs. It was a big one, which would turn out to be the game winner as the Sabres took the first game 5-4. The Leafs would win game 2, the Sabres would take game 3 and in game 4 Buffalo started off strong building a 3-0 lead following 2nd period goals by Brian Holzinger and Rob Ray. Then just twenty-two seconds after Ray’s goal Sanderson would add another to make it 4-0 and then 10:00 later but still in the 2nd period Sanderson would add yet another goal to make it 5-0. Mats Sundin would add two goals for Toronto in the 3rd period but by then it was too little too late as Buffalo took a commanding lead in the series. The Sabres would go on to win the series and as a result end up in the Stanley Cup Final for only the 2nd time in team history. Facing the Dallas Stars Buffalo took game 1 on the road in overtime, but Dallas fought back and won the next two games setting up game 4 in Buffalo. To prevent falling into a nearly insurmountable 3-1 hole the Sabres needed to win and not quite halfway through the 1st period Sanderson beat Ed Belfour to score the game’s first goal to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead. The Stars would tie the game back up, but in the 2nd period Dixon Ward scored what would prove to be the game winner as the series shifted back to Dallas tied 2-2. Dallas would win game 5, and then game 6 of the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals would end up being one of the most talked about in NHL history as despite incredibly strong play from Sabres netminder Dominik Hašek, the Stars would win the Stanley Cup on a controversial Brett Hull triple overtime goal.

Left unprotected by Buffalo during the 2000 NHL Expansion Draft, Sanderson joined the Columbus Blue Jackets and scored 30-plus goals in 2000–01 and 2002–03. He was the first Blue Jacket to score a hat trick. He returned to Vancouver at the trade deadline in 2003–04. With the Canucks would be the final time in his career that Sanderson would play in the postseason. In the 1st round of the 2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs the Canucks would be trailing the Calgary Flames looking to stave off elimination. Vancouver built a 2nd period lead of 3-0 and Sanderson would make it 4-0 scoring his only goal of the series. The Flames came back to tie the game 4-4 and once again Sanderson would find himself in a multiple overtime playoff hockey game. The Canucks would win in triple overtime, but in Game 7 Calgary would clinch the series, in yet another overtime game and eventually move onto the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals.

He was reclaimed by Columbus off waivers in the off-season which was a condition of the trade. Once the 2004–05 NHL lockout came to an end, Sanderson was traded two games into the 2005–06 season to the Phoenix Coyotes. After scoring 25 goals in 75 games with Phoenix, Sanderson signed a two-year contract with the Philadelphia Flyers in the off-season.[1]

A disappointing year with Philadelphia resulted in Sanderson being traded to Edmonton with Joni Pitkanen in exchange for Joffrey Lupul and former Oilers captain Jason Smith.[2] Sanderson scored two goals against Philadelphia the first time he played against his former team. Following the 2008 season, Edmonton declined to tender Sanderson a contract, ending his professional playing career.

Sanderson ended his NHL career with a total of exactly 700 points, making him the most successful hockey player to come out of Canada’s remote Northwest Territories.[3]


Sanderson accepted a developmental coaching and scouting role within the New York Islanders organization to begin the 2010–11 season. After his second season with the Islanders, Sanderson opted to step away from his position citing family reasons, and a similar lifestyle to his playing days.[4] Sanderson formed and currently runs an oil and gas rental equipment company, Breakaway Matting, alongside former teammate Brendan Morrison.[5]


Sanderson is the only NHL player to have been raised in the Northwest Territories, a place in which he grew up while his father worked as a pharmacist in the now defunct town of Pine Point, Northwest Territories. As a teenager, he relocated with his family to Edmonton.[6] Sanderson currently resides in Calgary, Alberta, with his wife Ellen and three sons.

In 2013, Sanderson coached his oldest son's peewee team, the Springbank Whalers of Calgary.[7]

He has two cousins who have also played in the NHL: Wade Brookbank, who most recently played for the Rockford IceHogs and Sheldon Brookbank, who is currently an assistant coach for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1987–88 St. Albert Royals AMHL 45 65 55 120 175
1988–89 Swift Current Broncos WHL 58 17 11 28 16 12 3 5 8 6
1989–90 Swift Current Broncos WHL 70 32 62 94 56 4 1 4 5 8
1990–91 Swift Current Broncos WHL 70 62 50 112 57 3 1 2 3 4
1990–91 Hartford Whalers NHL 2 1 0 1 0 3 0 0 0 0
1990–91 Springfield Indians AHL 1 0 0 0 2
1991–92 Hartford Whalers NHL 64 13 18 31 18 7 1 0 1 2
1992–93 Hartford Whalers NHL 82 46 43 89 28
1993–94 Hartford Whalers NHL 82 41 26 67 42
1994–95 HPK SM-l 12 6 4 10 24
1994–95 Hartford Whalers NHL 46 18 14 32 24
1995–96 Hartford Whalers NHL 81 34 31 65 40
1996–97 Hartford Whalers NHL 82 36 31 67 29
1997–98 Carolina Hurricanes NHL 40 7 10 17 14
1997–98 Vancouver Canucks NHL 9 0 3 3 4
1997–98 Buffalo Sabres NHL 26 4 5 9 20 14 3 1 4 4
1998–99 Buffalo Sabres NHL 75 12 18 30 22 19 4 6 10 14
1999–2000 Buffalo Sabres NHL 67 13 13 26 22 5 0 2 2 8
2000–01 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 68 30 26 56 46
2001–02 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 42 11 5 16 12
2002–03 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 82 34 33 67 34
2003–04 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 67 13 16 29 34
2003–04 Vancouver Canucks NHL 13 3 4 7 4 7 1 1 2 4
2004–05 Genève-Servette HC NLA 9 4 1 5 29
2005–06 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 2 0 0 0 0
2005–06 Phoenix Coyotes NHL 75 25 21 46 58
2006–07 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 58 11 18 29 44
2007–08 Edmonton Oilers NHL 41 3 10 13 16
NHL totals 1104 355 345 700 511 55 9 10 19 32
Medal record
Men's ice hockey
Representing  Canada
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 1994 Italy
Gold medal – first place 1997 Finland


Year Team Event Result   GP G A Pts PIM
1993 Canada WC 4th 8 3 3 6 2
1994 Canada WC 1st, gold medalist(s) 8 4 2 6 8
1997 Canada WC 1st, gold medalist(s) 11 3 2 5 2
Senior totals 27 10 7 17 12

Awards and honours[edit]

Award Year
WHL Champions (Swift Current Broncos) 1989
Memorial Cup 1989
Calder Cup (Springfield Indians) 1991
All-Star Game 1994, 1997

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Flyers sign free agent left wing Geoff Sanderson". Philadelphia Flyers. 2006-07-19. Retrieved 2008-09-12.
  2. ^ "Oilers acquire Pitkanen, Sanderson from Flyers for Lupul, Smith". National Hockey League. 2007-07-01. Retrieved 2007-07-01.
  3. ^ {{cite web|url=
  4. ^ "Throwback Thursday: Catching Up with Geoff Sanderson". Columbus Blue Jackets. 2014-06-19. Retrieved 2014-06-19.
  5. ^ "Geoff Sanderson about breakaway". 2014-06-20. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
  6. ^ "Hometown Sanderson". Sports Illustrated. 1999-10-27. Retrieved 2013-04-05.
  7. ^ "Sanderson puts fun first". 2013-02-10.

External links[edit]