The LA Kings returned to the ice for their opening game on Friday, October 5 against the San Jose Shark, but there was an on-ice homecoming that deserved bigger applause from the Staples Center crowd.
That’s because Major Douglass Rauschelbach of the U.S. Marine Corps was reunited with his wife and their four children before the puck dropped.
Rauschelbach, who has gone on multiple deployments to Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan since joining the United States Marine Corps in 1998, surprised his family during a memorable ceremony organized by the Kings.
Hi wife, Melissa, was in on the act. But, before Rauschelbach appeared in person, the team honored the family by bringing Melissa and the four kids to center ice where they were cheered on by the crowd, and enjoyed watching a pre-recorded video of their favorite Marine.
“Hey, guys. Surprise. This is your dad over here in the Middle East,” Rauschelbach said. “I know you’re at the Kings game. I just wanted to say I love you and I miss you very much. I’ll be home soon, and remember, you and your mom mean the world to me. Also, be good for mom, and no fighting. Go, Kings, go.”
As the clip was playing on the stadium’s video screen, he surprised them from behind with a huge grin on his face.
Of course, the tears flowed through endless hugs and kisses.
Rauschelbach, who is a Logistics Officer with the 1st Marine Logistics Group at Camp Pendleton, CA, and has been stationed in California, Okinawa, North Carolina and Arizona, credits his wife for keeping the family together.
“I couldn’t ask for a better partner, best friend, and mother to my children,” Rauchelbach told NHL.com. “She has been able to hold everything together through multiple deployments and stay sane with four wonderful children.”
The Kings may have lost in overtime, but the Rauschelbach Family won in a thriller.