‘Say hello to the big 6-0!’

Dancing Gabe celebrates milestone birthday at Manitoba Moose game


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The crowd taking in the Manitoba Moose game at Canada Life Centre Sunday afternoon appeared as lively as ever.

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The crowd taking in the Manitoba Moose game at Canada Life Centre Sunday afternoon appeared as lively as ever.

Hundreds of kids pounding their fists against the glass to gain the attention of any player on the ice, families soaking up each other’s company while cheering on their playoff-hopeful club and the local treasure known as Dancing Gabe jiving to the music any chance he got.

Gabriel (Dancing Gabe) Langlois, who has historically shown he’s needed no excuse to dance other than to feel the beat and entertain his fellow Manitobans, had another reason to show off his moves during the Moose’s 3-2 win over the visiting Toronto Marlies.

The longtime Winnipeg sports super-fan turned 60 years old on Sunday and was fittingly celebrated throughout the game, to the delight of those in attendance.

“Say hello to the big 6-0!” an enthusiastic Gabe started his press conference during the second intermission. “It’s a magical one. It was amazing. The crowd, the kids are amazing. The minor hockey teams — that was spectacular.”

Along with garnering the lion’s share of camera time during timeouts, countless birthday wishes were delivered by local and national sports personalities on the Jumbotron. Before addressing the media during the second intermission, the Winnipeg product was honoured on the ice with a cake to commemorate the occasion, where he was also greeted by Mayor Scott Gillingham and Fred Meier, president and CEO of Red River College Polytechnic.

Gabe was awarded an honorary diploma in community development from the Polytechnic in February 2021.

Raquel Payne said the celebration had been planned since the summer, with the last couple of weeks ramping up with dozens of video submissions, posters and the cake coming together to create a special day.

“It definitely fell in our lap a little bit, having a game on his actual birth date and then it was an immediate no-question,” said Payne, marketing manager for the Moose. “Whenever we’re putting together our promo schedule, we’re always trying to think of ways we can celebrate our fans and this was the perfect opportunity to celebrate our No. 1 fan.

“He brings the energy, the dancing, the smiling — he’s kind of what you want out of a fan and we’re just so lucky to have him in our arena for every game.”

The first 3,000 fans to arrive were given a poster that featured a breakdown of Gabe’s most famous dance moves, including “The Tornado,” which he demonstrated for media.

It appeared as though the overwhelming support for what’s become a national icon had Gabe speechless. He was short in much of his address and took a moment before reflecting on what it meant to have his birthday celebrated by hundreds of people in attendance.

“It’s hard to say. It kind of gets the crowd going,” he said. “I’d like to thank the young, old and children of all ages. I like to keep on dancing.”

“I like to make the fans smile.”

Cole Maier has seen plenty of Gabe in his five years with the Manitoba Moose. The alternate captain capped his post-game presser with a salute to the team’s No. 1 fan.

“Seeing how many people came out for his birthday speaks to how much Dancing Gabe means to Winnipeg,” Maier said. “Really excited that we were able to win on his birthday.”


Twitter: @jfreysam

Joshua Frey-Sam

Joshua Frey-Sam

Joshua Frey-Sam happily welcomes a spirited sports debate any day of the week.

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