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Gordie Howe's birthday celebrated in Vancouver

Saturday - 3/2/2013, 1:50am  ET

Hockey Hall of Fameer Gordie Howe looks on during an 85th birthday ceremony for him before the Vancouver Giants and Lethbridge Hurricanes WHL hockey game in Vancouver British Columbia, on Friday March 1, 2013. Howe turns 85 on March 31. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- Gordie Howe proved he can still draw a crowd.

Former NHL stars and hockey fans paid tribute to Howe on Friday night during a celebration of his upcoming 85th birthday.

Mr. Hockey was feted before a Western Hockey League game between the Vancouver Giants, of which he is a minority owner, and the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

The former NHL players included Bobby Hull and his brother Dennis, Marcel Dionne, Orland Kurtenbach, Charlie Hodge and Johnny Bower, who is also in his mid-80s.

They participated in a brief pregame ceremony during which Howe's birthday cake, bearing his famous No. 9 on the back of a gold truck, rolled onto the ice.

Pop star Michael Buble, also a Giants minority owner, got in on the party by leading the crowd in singing "Happy Birthday" to Howe, who will turn 85 on March 31.

Howe sang along before he capped the festivities by dropping the puck during the ceremonial faceoff.

Howe and the former stars posed for pictures with hundreds of fans during the first intermission.

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