Called onto the ice with their mom, the four children thought their special surprise was the moment that their dad, Maj. Douglass Rauschelbach, appeared on the big screen at the LA Kings hockey stadium.
But the real surprise, which went viral on social media, was yet to come.
Thinking their dad was still away on duty, they had no idea he had stepped onto the ice and was walking up behind them as they fixed their gaze on the screen.
As soon as they saw him they rushed over for a hug, while his wife of 15 years looked on tearfully.
The special military homecoming went viral soon after being posted on Facebook on Oct. 5, viewed over 41,000 times at the time of writing.
It was the opening night of the new hockey season.
According to a statement by the LA Kings, Rauschelbach has been in the United States Marine Corps since 1998 and is currently stationed with the 1st Marine Logistics Group at Camp Pendleton, California.
He has had multiple deployments to the Middle East, including Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan.
He has been married to his wife, Melissa, for 15 years.
“I couldn’t ask for a better partner, best friend, and mother to my children,” said Rauschelbach in the statement. “She has been able to hold everything together through multiple deployments and stay sane with four wonderful children.”