Zeidel, Larry "The Rock" : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Zeidel, Larry "The Rock"

Lawrence Zeidel

Nicknamed 'The Rock,' Zeidel was a tough, rugged defenseman known as the 'fastest stick in the Midwest' but it was not for his stickhandling. Larry was involved in more stick swinging incidents than anyone else in the game's history, and was known to use his stick as a spear when he deemed it necessary. He and Eddie Shack got into an infamous altercation where they brandished their sticks like dueling sabres and tried to scalp one another, after Shack made an anti-Semitic remark. Zeidel, who picked up an incredible 3,144 penalty minutes in his 25-year career, was almost expelled from the WHL in the early 1960s for another stick swinging incident.

In 1955, Larry showed how tough a player he was when he blocked a shot with his head but continued to play in the game. He was later ejected, which probably saved his life; he learned after the game that he sustained a serious skull fracture. When asked how he had become such a rough player, Zeidel said: "I guess there are a couple of reasons. First, I played some senior hockey in Quebec City and we could play well and win, but the fans would rather have us involved in a real brawl and lose the game. There were a lot of rugged guys in the league at that time, too, so maybe it was partly a matter of survival. The other thing is that there's the big thing of being young and having stars in your eyes. The clubs themselves are as much or more to blame. They play up the tough guys. Guts, guts, guts is all you hear from a lot of coaches and managers, even as early as junior (leagues). I was playing for some coaches and managers who would tell me 'go get him,' so I did."

Birth and Death Dates:
b. June 1, 1928

Career Highlights:
Zeidel began playing professionally in 1944 and spent seven years in the minors before making it to the NHL. He earned the distinction of leading his league in penalty minutes in 1950 and 1951. In his rookie season in the NHL (1951-52), Larry played in 19 games, scored one goal and had 14 penalty minutes as a member of the Stanley Cup-winning Detroit Red Wings. He remained with the Wings for another season before being sent to the Chicago Blackhawks in 1953. That year, he played in 64 games, scored one goal, had six assists, and racked up 102 penalty minutes. Following the 1953-54 season, Larry returned to the minors and spent the next thirteen years there. Despite his reputation as a 'bad boy,' Zeidel was a WHL All-Star in 1955 while playing for the Edmonton Flyers, and an AHL Second team All-Star in 1959 for the Hershey Bears.

In 1967, Zeidel returned to the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers, an expansion team. He was a steady force for the Flyers that year, playing in 57 games and a +12 plus/minus rating. He played nine games for the Flyers the following year, but at the age of 41, he decided to retire. During those final two seasons, he said he tried to clean up his image but: "I feel my past is haunting me now, even though I'm trying very hard to avoid penalties. After you're regarded as a tough guy, every rough kid who comes along wants to make a name for himself, too, and because you've got that reputation, you're the target."

Montreal, Quebec

Career Dates:
Zeidel played defense in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings from 1951-1953; for the Chicago Blackhawks in 1953-54; and with the Philadelphia Flyers from 1967-1969. He played in the AHL and WHL between 1954 and 1967.


Physical description:
5'11", 185 pounds

Career Statistics:
In the NHL:
Games: 158

Goals: 3
Assists: 16
Points: 19

Penalty Minutes: 198

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encyclopedia of JEWS in sports by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
Total Hockey: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Hockey League, edited by Dan Diamond, James Duplacey, Ralph Dinger, Igor Kuperman, and Eric Zweig (New York: Total Sports, 1998)