Detroit Red Wings Moritz Seider wears 53 because of Herbie the Love Bug

Detroit Free Press

One of the many reasons the Detroit Red Wings are so impressed with defenseman Moritz Seider is how good he is at thinking on his feet.

He did get caught though, a few years back, when he was with Mannheim in his native Germany — and that’s why he wears No. 53. It turns out he had watched the 1968 movie “Herbie the Love Bug” about a Volkswagen Beetle named Herbie that sports the number.

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“I had a chance playing pro when I was 16 in Mannheim, and they were asking me and they caught me off guard,” Seider said Saturday. “I watched a movie the day before and it stuck in my head somehow. That’s why I’m wearing 53.”

Seider is far from alone in having funny anecdotes behind the sweater number. Just last week, former Wings great and Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Nicklas Lidstrom was in Detroit for a belated ceremony honoring Dylan Larkin being named captain. Lidstrom’s No. 5 was retired in 2014, after he retired following the 2011-12 season. (It was delayed a season because the 2012-13 schedule was shortened by a labor dispute.)

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But No. 5 wasn’t what Lidstrom requested when he arrived in Detroit from his native Sweden. He had worn No. 9 and asked for that. Then Lidstrom was told to look up at the rafters at Joe Louis Arena, where No. 9 was hanging in honor of Gordie Howe.

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from AmazonBarnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail. 

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