If you're a certain age and a hockey fan, certain phrases can only mean one thing — Howie Meeker.

There’s "Jiminy Cricket," of course, "Golly gee willikers" and "Stop it right there!"

Meeker is a former NHL star, broadcaster and resident of Newfoundland.

He and his wife Leah have come to Newfoundland to visit family — and for a birthday bash.  Meeker turns 90 this fall. And apart from what he calls a "conky knee," he's in good health.

"I feel great," Meeker told CBC News. "I feel lucky to be alive. Very lucky to be here because we love this place."

Birthday bash

Howie Meeker's 90th birthday party is taking place this evening (Monday, July 1) at the Capital Hotel in St. Johns from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. If you're an old friend, and you want to say hello — or as Howie says, "Tell a few lies" — you're welcome to stop by. 

The secret of his longevity? "Eat well, drink well. I still drink Screech. London Dock."

There was no conky knee is his prime. He was the NHL's rookie of the year in 1947. The Leafs won four Stanley Cups with Meeker in the lineup. 

When his playing days were over, he moved to St. John's. It was here that he became Canada's hockey coach. He was a star on Hockey Night in Canada as well.

Still gets letters and autograph requests

Meeker says he still gets a letter a day and requests for autographs from Canada, the United States and Europe.

"I'm amazed — really amazed," he said. "It's been 20 years, almost 20 years since I got out of broadcasting."

Meeker says he spent 20 of the happiest years of his life in Newfoundland, and was changed by this place.

He did it by embracing the outdoors. He fished salmon and hunted moose.

He still fishes salmon on Vancouver Island. But he doesn't skate anymore. And neither does he watch hockey much.

"There’s no flow anymore," Meeker said. "It's dump it out of your own end, dump it into the other end. Everybody runs to the corner. They have a rugby huddle."

While he doesn't love the game like he once did, but he loves his life.

"If I had been born a multimillionaire, I’d have paid someone to do what I've done all my life," he said.

With files from Glenn Deir