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This One Takes the Cake

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues
Ben Knol will never forget where he was on Nov. 19, 2010.

He was sitting with his girlfriend, Kari, in the Mezzanine Level at Scottrade Center for a Blues game. It’s a place you’d find them quite often, actually; the couple had purchased a 10-Game Plan for the 2010-11 season.

But on this particular night, Kari’s parents invited them down to the Bommarito Automotive Club Seats, where they had two extra tickets because their friends had been last-minute cancellations. Despite the up-close-and-personal view, Ben doesn’t remember much about the hockey game. He knows the Blues won, but he can’t recall the other details, such as who scored that night or even who the Blues played.

It’s not because he wasn’t a hockey fan…he most certainly is that and has been since his third grade.

No, Ben doesn’t remember much about the game because he had a lot on his mind.

And a diamond ring in his pocket.

So when Kari left to shop for souvenirs during first intermission, Ben asked her dad’s permission for marriage. At second intermission, with no scoreboard message or fanfare, Ben got down on one knee.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Meanwhile, Carlo Colaiacovo, Eric Brewer and Brad Boyes helped the Blues to three goals in a span of 86 seconds – the fastest three goal spurt of the season – and the Blues earned a 5-2 victory against the Ottawa Senators.

But those details were lost on the soon-to-be-newlyweds.

“Ben got on one knee right there in the seats and proposed, so I didn’t really pay much attention to the game anymore,” Kari said.

That was nearly 11 months ago, but the two of them - now Mr. and Mrs. Ben Knol - remember it like it was yesterday.

“If you ask us our most memorable Blues moment, it’s going to be the engagement for both of us,” Ben said.

Some would argue, though, that their July 16th wedding takes the cake.

Blues’ anthem singer Charles Glenn provided the music at the ceremony. The bridesmaids each wore blue dresses and held yellow roses. As guests entered the reception, they were handed a placard with a Blues player’s name and number: Brett Hull 16, Bob Bassen 28, T.J. Oshie 74, Chris Stewart 25, just to name a few. To find their seat, each guest would seek out the table with that player’s jersey on the centerpiece.

The couple even considered entering the reception in matching Blues jerseys, but Ben said Kari’s “dress was just too nice to cover up.”

The newlyweds even wore Blues t-shirts during their honeymoon in Orlando, where Blues' CEO Mike McCarthy met them during his family vacation to Disneyworld.

"When they told me about their wedding, I knew these two were tried and true," McCarthy said.

Ben and Kari won't dispute that. The Blues have been a permanent fixture in their lives for about as long as they can remember.

“I’ve been going to Blues games since I’ve been little. My parents have shared Season Tickets for a long time, so I’ve grown up with the Blues,” Kari said. “I was a huge Hull and (Adam) Oates fan, and that’s what I think of when I think of the Blues. I was born in St. Louis and lived here my whole life, so I grew up with St. Louis sports.”

Growing up in Oklahoma, Ben’s fascination with hockey came in a very different way: an electric hockey game he received as a gift from his mother featured a blue and gold team vs. a red and white team. He chose to play as blue and gold every time he played, and when he learned an NHL team shared those colors, a Blues fan was born.

Six years ago, he moved to St. Louis to pursue a career as a high school teacher and wrestling coach.

“I was a hockey fan where there are no hockey fans,” Ben said. “When I ended up moving to St. Louis, I really embraced (the Blues) and felt like I really belonged. I still have that hockey game. I had no idea it would have such an influence (on my life).”

In a way, it's almost like the Blues brought them together.

Said Kari,“Most of my friends were already married. I didn't get married until I was 31. I always said I was waiting for the perfect person, and I found him."
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