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Marine surprises family, proposes to girlfriend

Not a dry eye inside Joe Louis Arena when high school sweetheart says 'yes"

Saturday, 12.14.2013 / 10:02 PM ET / News
By Andrea Nelson  - Editorial Assistant |
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Marine surprises family, proposes to girlfriend

U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Chris Marr surprised his girlfriend, Escely Arias, his high school sweetheart, at Saturday's game by proposing to her during the first period. (Photo by Dan Mannes/Detroit Red Wings)

DETROIT – There wasn’t a dry eye at Joe Louis Arena Saturday night when the Red Wings’ Military Welcome segment during the second TV timeout of the first period quickly became the best moment of one young guest’s life.

Escely Arias was attending Detroit’s game against Pittsburgh with Brian and Lisa Marr, the parents of her boyfriend and U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Chris Marr. As the three received a standing ovation in honor of the deployed marine they haven’t seen in seven long months, a special video from Chris played on the arena’s Jumbotron bringing tears to their eyes.

There were about to be a few more.

As the cameras returned to Arias and the Marr’s, Chris was standing behind them, tears in his eyes and hands shaking as he hugged his father, his mother and then knelt down on one knee in front of his girlfriend.

She said yes.

“Oh my gosh, no, there’s no words to describe any of this,” said Arias, tears rolling down her cheeks. “Best moment of my life by far.”

While the engagement had been in the works for two months, only Chris, his father, and members of the Red Wings’ marketing staff were privy to the plans.

“I can put it in simple words: I just exhaled for the first time in six weeks,” Brian Marr said. “That’s about it. Between the logistics in getting him here, setting everything up, flying him in last night, thank God it was last night and not tonight. I had to tell everybody, my wife included, that he was flying in (Sunday). There was a lot of moving parts to this, and then the snow, but it all came together. So it was meant to be.”

Although he was unusually calm before the game, Chris was overwhelmed by emotions when he saw his family and fiancé, and couldn’t have asked for a more perfect moment to propose to the love of his life.

“I think it worked pretty well, I put the odds in my favor so she wouldn’t say no,” said Chris as he smiled with tears of happiness filling his eyes. “I’m still nervous. I still don’t know what’s going on.

“She’s my best friend. I love her to do death. Everything worked out perfectly. She’s been there for everything so it’s about time.”

Last month, Chris asked Arias’ mother for her hand in marriage, and Katie Kondakor was more than happy to give her blessing and witness the best moment of her daughter’s life.

“Can you see my mascara running? Happy, sad, I mean she’s my baby,” Kondakor said. “I’m elated though, beyond words.

“They complement each other wonderfully and I’m glad he chose her and she’s chosen him as well.”

The newly engaged couple has known each other since high school, and started dating when Chris became a marine. The Northville, Michigan is attached to the Security Forces Infantry and has been stationed in Kings Bay, Georgia, 1,025 miles away from home.

Although Arias wasn’t expecting to see Chris until Sunday morning, she had an inkling there was going to be a surprise at the game.

“I had a feeling, I had such a slight feeling and then it happened,” Arias said. “I’m speechless. Absolutely speechless.”

Between tears, laughs, hugs, kisses, and more tears, Chris and Arias received congratulations from friends, family and fans that were touched by the engagement, one woman even telling Arias that it was the best hockey moment she had ever seen.

The 20-year-old couldn’t agree more.

“Best moment of my entire life,” Arias said, turning to look at her fiancé. “I’m so happy you’re home.”

It was a moment that touched everyone at The Joe, and one that the couple will remember for the rest of their lives – a heartwarming holiday miracle in Hockeytown.




1 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 53 31 16 6 143 118 68
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 TBL 52 29 19 4 138 123 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
8 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
9 NJD 54 26 21 7 120 122 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47


D. Larkin 52 18 20 26 38
H. Zetterberg 53 9 27 3 36
T. Tatar 52 16 17 -1 33
G. Nyquist 53 14 15 -2 29
P. Datsyuk 38 8 20 12 28
J. Abdelkader 53 14 13 -3 27
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 39 5 11 7 16
D. DeKeyser 49 6 8 12 14
P. Mrazek 20 10 4 .933 1.97
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89