The New Jersey Devils surprised Christopher and Sandra Monahan of Toms River on Friday night, honoring their late son, United States Marines Corps. Corporal Christopher Monahan Jr., as the team’s Hero of the Game as the Devils hosted the Montreal Canadiens. Monahan’s family and friends represented him at The Rock as he received a standing ovation from the fans.
In 2006, Cpl. Monahan, who played high school football at Central Regional High School, in Bayville, went on a road trip to Florida with friends. His mother said he always liked to travel. “He was there for everybody,” she said. “Facebook friends were all over the place.”
“He came home, and said he was joining the Marines,” said Christopher, who served with the National Guard in Operation Desert Storm, setting an example of military service for his son.
After enlisting, Cpl. Monahan was deployed to Iraq from 2007-08 and again in 2009, followed by his final deployment, to Afghanistan, in July 2012, where he served as a transport operator. On November 26, his truck was hit by an explosive device. Cpl. Monahan is survived by his wife of five years, Sarah, and their three children.
“It’s good to see that somebody is recognized for their sacrifice,” Christopher said. “It’s honorable.” The Monahan family did not know the team would be celebrating Cpl. Monahan. It was a surprise arranged by Monahan’s service friends. “All of them are his brothers and sisters,” Christopher said.
Sarah Monahan described her late husband as a role model. “I had many Marines that would come up to me after he passed, saying what a great role model he was and talking about how he treated them.”
“Pretty much everyone you’d talk to would consider him a ‘best friend’,” Christopher said.
Monahan’s two sports fandoms were the New Jersey Devils and the Dallas Cowboys. With his friends, Monahan would attend Devils games when he could. A Devils fan to the end, the team honored his memory three years after he made the ultimate sacrifice.