Former Flyer Zeidel dies at 86

Posted: June 19, 2014

LARRY ZEIDEL, a colorful member of the Flyers' inaugural roster in 1967-68, passed away yesterday at the age of 86.

Zeidel skated in just 66 games for the Flyers but became a household name in town after a vicious stick-swinging duel with Boston's Eddie Shack on March 7, 1968. Bruins star Phil Esposito later recalled in a book that Zeidel and Shack were "swinging their sticks like battle axes."

Zeidel, 39 at the time, was suspended for four games. His trade to the Flyers from Cleveland of the American Hockey League on Oct. 23, 1967, presented the opportunity to return to the NHL for the first time since 1954. Brought in to provide protection for the Flyers' younger players, he was the first "Broad Street Bully."

Zeidel retired in 1968 at the age of 40. He never forgot the second chance afforded to him by the Flyers, settling in the area permanently.

Suffering financial hardship, Zeidel spent the last 2 years of his life living in the Mayfair home of Joan and George Bradley, who graciously took him in from a neighbor. He succumbed yesterday to complications from congestive heart failure and dementia.

"While Larry Zeidel really only played in our inaugural season, he helped define Philadelphia Flyers hockey," chairman Ed Snider said in a statement. "He was a tough son of a gun on the ice and a terrific fighter. He was a colorful guy and he was that way his whole life. It's a sad day for our team and we're really going to miss him."

Lazarus "The Rock" Zeidel was born on June 1, 1928 in Montreal, just before the Great Depression. Services will be held Saturday, from 8 a.m to noon, at Cassizzi Funeral Home, 2915 East Thompson St., Philadelphia. Contributions to help fund Zeidel's services can be sent to the funeral home.

For insight into Zeidel's latter years, read Sam Donnellon's column from April 12, 2013 at philly.com/zeidel.


On Twitter: @DNFlyers

Blog: ph.ly/FrequentFlyers

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