This is Robin Sadler. He played for the Edmonton Oil Kings, terrific junior. He was so good in fact that Sadler played in the second World Junior Championships in Winnipeg and Brandon in 1975. It was an unofficial tournament that helped set stage for first official World Juniors in 1977.
He was drafted by the Habs, 9th overall in 1975. Sadler attended Montreal’s 1975 training camp, but decided that he did not like the experience after just one week and went home to North Vancouver. He said there was too much pressure on him in pro hockey, and he didn’t have any interest in turning pro.
He had already signed a three-year, $250,000 contract that included a big signing bonus, but he returned the money, announcing his retirement September 1975. Sadler then spent the 1975-76 season playing amateur hockey in Vancouver while earning $250 per week working for a delivery service.
Hockeydraftcentral picks up the story from there: He came out of retirement in 1976 to play the 1976-77 season in Sweden, and would later take another shot at North American hockey. After talking to Edmonton coach Glen Sather, he signed a two-year contract with Edmonton (WHA) on June 16, 1977. The deal was worth over $100,000. Sadler, however, left Edmonton training camp in September 1977 after running into issues similar to those he had dealt with two years earlier. He had a 90-minute talk with Edmonton coach Glen Sather and co-owner Nelson Skalbania before deciding to go home to Vancouver. Sather said emotional stress was affecting Sadler’s eating habits and he was sorry that Sadler had chosen to leave. In February 1978, Sadler contacted Montreal to express his interest in playing for the Canadiens. He was assigned to Nova Scotia (AHL) in early March 1978, and collected six points in nine games, but quit the team near the end of the season. He returned to Europe for the 1978-79 season and never played North American pro hockey again. In Europe, where he likely experienced a very different sort of atmosphere, he was a top-notch hockey player.
Robin Sadler is one of the few people on planet earth who might understand this story.