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Players thrilled to greet Drake at All-Star Game

by Tal Pinchevsky

KANATA, Ont. -- While the world's greatest hockey players congregated in their locker rooms at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa on Sunday, the biggest star in attendance may have been without skates.

Surrounded by his security detail, platinum-selling artist Drake visited the players, eliciting an exciting response from countless players, many of whom asked the hip-hop star to pose with them for photographs during the first intermission of the 2012 Tim Horton's NHL All-Star Game.

"That's a good shot," Drake said after posing for a photo with the Sedin twins. "I need that one for the house."


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In a night full of stars, the Toronto-born Drake, born Aubrey Drake Graham, did his share of shining. After meeting the rapper in the first intermission, many of the All-Star players poured onto the ice and snapped photos with their phones as the star performed his hit single "Headlines" during the second-intermission.

"I think I was the first one to go on the ice on our side. I'm a huge Drake fan, I love his music. I'm a big hip-hop guy. It was great to be that close and watching him,” said Keith Yandle of the Phoenix Coyotes. "I actually asked him to sign a stick. He said it was the first hockey stick he has signed. It was pretty cool."

For the players in attendance, Drake's performance was a welcome change of pace compared to the regular season. For players used to discussing strategy with their coaching staff between periods, it was nice to spend the intermission enjoying a performance from a platinum-selling artist.

"We don't have time during the season to enjoy shows," Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang said. "To have the chance to see it live on the ice was pretty cool."

But Drake seemed just as taken with the NHL stars as they were with him. He asked Penguins center Evgeni Malkin for a stick and spent extra time with the three Toronto players represented at the game, calling it "an honor" as Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf approached him.

For all the Canadian players participating in the game, the rapper's visit even provided ample bragging rights.

"It's great … something else that Canada can brag about," said Yandle. "All the guys in the locker room can brag about how they have the best rapper now. They're taking over the world."
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