There's a famous hockey move, some say created by Bobby Orr, in which the player skates directly at the net, fakes a shot and goes behind the goal, backhanding the puck in.

The move takes speed, agility and control.

Some players have it. Some players have it for a time and lose it.

Derek Sanderson had it. He and Orr were on the famous Boston Bruins hockey team that ruled the NHL from the late 1960s to the early 1970s and won the Stanley Cup for the 1969-70 and 1971-72 seasons.

Then the team began to fall apart. Sanderson left to join the Philadelphia Blazers in 1972. And then Sanderson fell apart. He quit hockey in 1978, drank heavily and ended up broke and down and out in 1980.

He went from being the highest-paid athlete in the world to a drunk sleeping in Central Park. Sanderson certainly had the speed. He was agile enough in his late twenties. But the control, well, the control was lost.

"Everybody has a different scenario for control," says Sanderson. "It's easy to lose."

Sanderson lost control of his money. He says he gave his agent power of attorney, and that was a big mistake. "He lost it all. I wasn't paying attention. But he lost it all," Sanderson says.

He admits, "I was a functioning alcoholic. And when you're functioning, everything is all right. It's great. It's when you stop functioning, that's when it hits you."

What hit him was the fact that he was a drunk and broke.

Sanderson took control of his life in the early 1980s. He looked into the bottom of an empty bottle one day, decided he could either live or die, and chose to get better. He entered rehab, got a job at a country club outside Boston and slowly, slowly turned his life around. After a stint as a broadcaster, he got a job at Tucker Anthony, a Boston-based brokerage. He now heads a group at State Street Research, also in Boston, that consults to athletes about finances.

Sanderson got a chance to enter the financial business after playing in a celebrity golf tournament with John Goldsmith, the chairman of Tucker Anthony. The two hit it off, and Goldsmith hired Sanderson in 1990. After getting his Series 7 license and advising clients, Sanderson came up with theidea for a sports group to advise athletes. In 1997, he left Tucker Anthony to head such a group at State Street.

To be sure, a lot of people consult to athletes about finances. There are a lot of issues: fast money, big spending, short careers. Enough issues that range from the psychological to stock market volatility. In both cases, the game plan is to reduce beta, the risk that always gets in the way.

Sanderson, 54, understands the professional competitor's mind. That gives him an edge. "He shares the mindset of an athlete, and he understands what their needs are," says Robert Wilkins, who oversees Sanderson's Sports Group as executive vice president at SSR. "Derek brings a lot to the table." Wilkins adds that Sanderson works in a sensitive area. "Athletes are celebrities. And when you are a celebrity, everybody wants a piece of you. Derek understands that."

SSR's Sports Group has $100 million in assets under management. It provides education, as well as investment services, on a fee basis to professional athletes.

Mostly what Sanderson does is create an understanding of the financial markets and instill trust. "These kids don't understand the jargon. Hell, they don't know the difference between a stock or a bond. I didn't. I try to purge out all that financial speak. It's part of my mission here. It's an education in their terms, in their language," says Sanderson.

Wilkins says a lot of athletes are so focused on their sport, they don't have the information or assistance that they need when it comes to managing their money.

How would you know about finance when you are groomed for sports from the age of 10? Sanderson's professional hockey rights were purchased from his parents for $100 when he was that age. How would you understand what money means when you are signed to a league franchise at the age of 15? Sanderson was signed with the Bruins at that age. How would you know the value of a dollar when accountants and business managers take care of your money, when the team is your family and the owner acts as a patriarch? In Sanderson's beginning years, there was no free-agent system; every team member worked under a similar contract for-even in today's values-little money.

"You were playing," says Sanderson, "That's what was so important. When you're on the ice, everything is free and clear. You know your job, and you know what you're supposed to do. When you're off the ice, that's a different story."

It's off the ice where Sanderson does his work now. He holds seminars at practice camps. He networks with different teams' players and gets them to understand the limits of their careers and their money-even if it sounds spectacular now, it has to last a lifetime.

"You rue the day you take the money," says Sanderson. "You haven't been bred to it. Athletes don't have a foundation for success. It's like winning the lottery or gambling. You piss it away. You don't ask who you are, what your priorities are, what's life all about?"

In his role today, Sanderson asks those questions. Not so much of himself, but of the athletes with whom he works. "We work with all the professional leagues except the NBA," says Sanderson. "I work on a fee-only basis. And I mostly recommend money managers. I don't manage any money myself. I look at it as a division between church and state. To give my guys the best advice, I have to be objective."

The advice consists of, first, an education. Then, a reality check."You make your money in a very narrow window. And it can be gone in a narrow window," warns Sanderson. "You can't just spend it. It ends in six, eight, 10 years. And you really only make it, the most of it, in three or four years-your good years-if you're lucky. So we have to tackle a lot of issues right off the bat. The first is savings. The second is investments to cover your future lifestyle."

Sanderson recently advised a professional athlete who signed a multimillion-dollar contract. After lifestyle budgeting, Sanderson had to calculate a six- to eight-year earnings analysis. Period. Still, he devised a plan and hired a stable of portfolio managers to handle a portion of what he defined as a $250,000 savings plan. The capital, with a target growth rate of between 8% and 10% annualized, in 40 years would be worth $5.4 million at an 8% growth rate and $11.3 million at a 10% growth rate.

That way, says Sanderson, the athlete knows that in 40 years, retirement is covered. The nest egg, the spending and children's college costs are calculated in the same way as they would be for other financial plans. But the plans are based on accelerated earnings. Therefore, most of Sanderson's clients are income-oriented, with a dual emphasis on growth. His young clients have time on the investment front, but not in terms of earnings power.

"I know the mindset. I've been there. And the payday isn't as big as people think," says Sanderson. He says if an athlete is making $160 million, he's really taking in $80 million, after taxes. With deferred payments, he's down to $30 million. Then there are agents' fees, managers' fees and other expenses. "Now you're down to the normal Wall Street guy who makes a lot of money over 40 years. These guys don't have that much time," says Sanderson.

And those are the top players. A 22-year-old who provides the money managers at State Street Research with $600,000 a year for 10 years and lives on a budget of $7,500 a month while his money earns 5% annually will have $15 million by the time he's 52. If he lives on $10,000 monthly, he'll have about $13 million. If he spends $27,000 a month, he'll be broke when he's 50. Everyone chooses the $7,500-a-month deal, says Sanderson.

These are the types of calculations Sanderson performs for his clients. "We're looking at taking out life insurance when you're playing, paying off your house and annuitizing an income," he says.

By and large, Sanderson's job is to create control. That, combined with agility, is how he says you win the game.