For 18,134 of the sell-out crowd (18,136) at Nationwide Arena on Friday night, the Blue Jackets contest vs. the Colorado Avalanche was nothing more than an exciting hockey game.
For Lee Young and Carrie Miller it was more than just a game, it was the beginning of a new life, together.
Lee and Carrie are one of a handful of couples to become engaged at a Blue Jackets game at Nationwide Arena.
“I have been a hockey fan for a long time and she has been turned on to it the last couple of years,” Lee said. “We love hockey.”
So naturally proposing to his longtime girlfriend at a hockey game was the perfect idea, as long as he could get her there.
“She wouldn’t turn me down for hockey, there was no doubt she would come to the game,” Lee said. “I wanted as many people as I could muster up to know how strongly I feel about this woman.”
An arena filled with thousands of people certainly qualifies.
“I wasn’t nervous, but as the final minutes approached I just got ecstatic. I knew from the day that I met her 15 years ago that she was the person I wanted to be with.”
So during a break in the action, Blue Jackets arena MC Mike Todd picked Carrie out of the crowd to participate in a contest and identify a song to win a prize.
Over the stadium loudspeakers blared five seconds of “Endless Love,” by Mariah Carey.
Carrie was dumbfounded and could not identify the song in such a short amount of time.
“I had no idea what was going on, I thought it was a trick,” Carrie said. “I didn’t want to answer and have it be wrong.”
When Carrie couldn’t find an answer, the correct response was to be revealed on the stadium Jumbotron…
In place of the correct response were the words, "Will you marry me? love Lee," as Lee got down on one knee and extended an engagement ring.
“When I looked up at the screen I had to do a double take to be sure that I saw what I thought I saw,” Carrie said. “When he knelt down, I thought he had tripped and fallen.
“Then I saw the ring and I was shocked and surprised.”
The sell-out crowd then roared and congratulated the couple, just before the Jackets resumed play in their final home game before Valentine’s Day.
“It never crossed my mind that I would get engaged at a hockey game.”
Columbus would go on to lose the game, 4-1 with Jan Hrdina scoring the lone goal for the Jackets.
But the result didn’t matter much to Lee Young.
“I won before I even left for the game that night.”
The couple is planning a July wedding, carefully scheduled AFTER the Blue Jackets season has come to a close.
Happy Valentine’s Day.