By Andrew Miller
The Post and Courier
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – The price was definitely right for South Carolina Stingrays defenseman Marc Busenburg.
A couple of days after getting sent down from Hershey to the ECHL’s San Diego Gulls during the 2003 season, Busenburg and several teammates decided to try and get on the popular game show “The Price is Right.”
Busenburg was a part of the studio audience, but with nearly 500 spectators to select from, he was more than a little surprised when he was called to “come on down” and meet Bob Barker and become a contestant on The Price is Right.
“You’re sitting there and you don’t really expect to get picked,” Busenburg said. “I was the second guy to get called up, so I was on there for a while.”
It took three attempts, but Busenburg finally got the closest bid on a pearl and diamond necklace.
“I was the last person to bid and the highest bid before me was $1,800,” Busenburg said. “I bid $1,801.”
When Busenburg got on stage to play next round, he faced the dreaded “Magic Number” game with Barker.
“There are two prizes, one cost more than the other, then you press this lever to pick the price that’s between the two prizes,” Busenburg said. “If you pick the number that’s between the two prizes you win.”
Busenburg had to pick the price between a Pilates exercise machine and a dinette set.
“I ended up getting the magic number right and winning both,” Busenburg said.
After beating the Magic Number, the former University of Connecticut star was onto spinning the wheel to see who would be in the Showcase Showdown.
Busenburg was the first to spin and got 75 cents. The next player got a dollar and that was the end of his short-lived contestant career.
Busenburg didn’t go home empty handed as he won diamond necklace, the Pilates exercise machine and the dinette set.
“I had to pay some taxes on all the stuff, but it was worth it,” Busenburg said. “One of the guys we went with got to the Showcase Showdown and won like $45,000 worth of stuff. It was a blast. We had a great time.”
After being on the show, Busenburg was prepared for the ribbing he knew he would face from his teammates. However, he wasn’t prepared for what happened when he returned to Hershey.
“Last home game of the season, they had the whole thing on the video screen in the arena,” Busenburg said. “Everybody was dying laughing.”
Busenburg has shuttled back-and-forth between the Lowcountry and the American Hockey League this season. In all, Busenburg has played 22 games with the Bears, the Stingrays AHL affiliate, and 19 with South Carolina.
“After seeing all the defensemen in camp this fall, I thought I’d be lucky to get five games in Hershey,” Busenburg said. “I’m happy I’ve been able to play up there as much as I have.”
With the Bears defensemen healthy again, Busenburg isn’t sure how long his stint with the Stingrays will last.
“You never know. I could be down here for the rest of the season or go up tomorrow,” Busenburg said. “You want to play at the highest level, but if you’ve got to play in the ECHL, this is where you want to be. I’m going to help this team win as many games as I can while I’m here.”
Busenburg, one of three veterans on the Stingrays roster, was assigned to the Stingrays on Monday night.
“He’s a real calming influence on our blue line,” said South Carolina Stingrays coach Jason Fitzsimmons. “He never panics with the puck. Marc makes the game look very easy and that’s because he almost always makes the right play, the simple play.”
The Stingrays’ roster features two defensemen – Viktor Dovgan and Sasha Pokulok – that are prospects within the Washington Capitals organization. After seventh professional seasons, Busenburg said he feels obligated to help the younger players adjust to the pro game.
“It’s kind of an unwritten rule,” Busenburg said. “You try to help them out as much as possible. Viktor and Sasha are both young guys. They’re both talented and I try to help them any way I can.”