Battle Of The Blades

The cast of BATTLE OF THE BLADES are gearing up for the very first live performance show this Sunday, September 25 at 8 p.m. (8:30 p.m. NT) on CBC Television, followed by the second live performance episode on Monday, September 26 at 8 p.m. (8:30 p.m. NT).

Joining the judging panel for the first anticipated performance episode of the season is fan-favourite ex-NHL player, Darcy Tucker.

Known for his gritty style of play, Tucker played for the Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning and the Colorado Avalanche, but is most well-known for his time spent with the Toronto Maple Leafs. A fan-favourite in the hearts of Leafs fans everywhere, Tucker spent seven seasons with the club before announcing his retirement in 2010, to pursue a career as a sports agent.

Tucker will add colourful commentary to the insightful remarks of Head Judge Sandra Bezic and Resident Judge Jeremy Roenick as the pairs showcase their skills in the hopes of winning a $100,000 donation for their charity of choice. The first BATTLE OF THE BLADES live performances will be comprised of one-hour competitions on Sunday, September 25 and on Monday, September 26 at 8 p.m. (8:30 p.m. NT). Subsequent weeks will feature one-hour performance shows on Sunday evenings followed by the dramatic, live “skate-off” half-hour results shows on Monday nights.

Viewers that missed the first episode last Sunday can watch a special presentation of BATTLE OF THE BLADES: GAME ON this Sunday, September 25 at 2 p.m., followed by an encore presentation of COVER ME CANADA’s series premiere at 3 p.m.

CBC announced today the eight pairs teams that have been partnered for the anticipated third season of the smash hit live series, BATTLE OF THE BLADES.

This year’s BATTLE OF THE BLADES cast will include former Toronto Maple Leaf and Montreal Canadien Russ Courtnall, who has generously stepped in to take the place of the late Wade Belak and skate for Wade’s chosen charity, Tourette’s Syndrome Neurodevelopmental Clinic at the Toronto Western Hospital, with Kim Navarro.

A native of Duncan, British Columbia, Courtnall is most well known for his electrifying play and great skating ability during his time with the Leafs, Habs and five other NHL teams.

Along with his impressive 15-year NHL career, Russ was also selected to represent Canada throughout his career at the World Championships and the 1984 Olympic Games.

BATTLE OF THE BLADES’ live performances begin with two one-hour performance shows Sunday, September 25 at 8 p.m. and Monday, September 26 at 8 p.m. (8:30 p.m. NT). Fans have asked for no elimination in the first week, but these performances will still count towards the first elimination held in week two. Subsequent weeks will feature performance shows on Sunday evenings followed by the dramatic, live “skate-off” results shows on Monday nights, until the new champions are crowned.

 

The season 3 pairs are:

Violetta and Cale – Russian-born Violetta Afanasieva won the first-ever Extreme Ice Skating World Championship with Canadian partner/husband Pete Dack in 2006. She returns from season 2 of BATTLE OF THE BLADES to skate with ex-Calgary Flame Cale Hulse, who also played for New Jersey, Nashville, Phoenix and Columbus. Charity: The Canadian Cancer Society.

Tanith and Boyd – Five-time U.S. Ice Dance Champion, four-time World Medalist and 2006 Olympic Silver Medalist, Tanith Belbin is paired with former Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers player Boyd Devereaux, an Ontario native who won the Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2002. Charities: The Montreal Neurological Institute (Tanith) and Epilepsy – Huron-Perth-Bruce (Boyd).

Elena and Curtis – Olympic Gold Medalist, two-time World Champion and four-time Russian National Champion Elena Berezhnaya is partnered with Curtis Leschyshyn, a Stanley Cup Champion with the Colorado Avalanche in 1996 who also spent time with the Quebec Nordiques and Ottawa Senators. Following the unforgettable judging scandal at the 2002 Winter Olympics, Elena, with partner Anton Sikharulidze, shares the 2002 Olympic Gold Medal with Canadians Jamie Salé and David Pelletier. Elena and David now face each other again in BATTLE OF THE BLADES. Charity: Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan.

Tessa and David – Tessa Bonhomme, BATTLE OF THE BLADES’ first female hockey player, was part of Canada’s Gold Medal-winning women’s hockey team at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver and a member of the Canadian National Women’s Hockey Team since 2004. She will skate with David Pelletier, a three-time Canadian Pairs Champion, World Champion, Grand-Prix Final Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist, who in 2002 captured Canada’s first Olympic Gold medal in pairs skating in 42 years. Charities: Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation ‘CIBC Run for the Cure’ – Sudbury Chapter (Tessa) and Ronald McDonald House Charities Canada (David).

Marie-France and Bryan – Returning from Season 1, World Silver Medalist and five-time Canadian Ice Dance Champion, Marie-France Dubreuil is paired with Bryan Berard, a first overall NHL draft pick, winner of the Calder Trophy and Bill Masterdon Memorial Trophy. Bryan battled back from a severe eye injury in one of the greatest comeback stories in hockey history. Charity: Do It For Daron (DIFD) with the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health.

Marcy and Todd – Marcy Hinzmann-Harris, a U.S. World and Olympic Team member and two-time U.S. Pairs Medalist is skating with former NHL defenseman Todd Simpson, the former captain of the Calgary Flames who also played for six other NHL teams. Charities: Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (Marcy) and YMCA’s Y Strong Kids Campaign (Todd).

Anabelle and Brad – Returning from Season 2, World and Olympic Team Member and 2008 Canadian Pairs Champion Anabelle Langlois is skating with Brad May, who was immortalized with broadcaster Rick Jeanneret’s famous “May Day!” call after scoring a series-clinching goal for Buffalo in the 1993 playoffs against Boston. The former Toronto Maple Leaf (2008-2009) and Vancouver Canuck (1997-2000 and 2002-2004) won the Stanley Cup in 2008 with the Anaheim Ducks. Charity: Autism Speaks.

Kim and Russ – Russ Courtnall, part of last year’s BATTLE OF THE BLADES line up, will be returning to the show this season, paired with new competitor Kim Navarro, a U.S. World Team Member and two-time U.S. Ice Dance Bronze Medalist. They are both skating for Wade Belak’s charity chosen for Wade’s daughter Andie, who has Tourette’s Syndrome. Charity: Tourette’s Syndrome Neurodevelopmental Clinic at the Toronto Western Hospital.

CBC’s BATTLE OF THE BLADES will go forward with its third season, premiering on Sunday, September 18 at 8 p.m. as planned.

BATTLE OF THE BLADES: GAME ON is a one-hour special featuring footage of the cast members when they first met in July and began to train for the show. The Blades cast and crew are deeply saddened by the death of former NHLer Wade Belak, however, they believe that he would want the show to go on.

“GAME ON,” the series opener, documents the cast’s career accomplishments, personal stories and how far they must come to prepare for their first live performance.

This show reveals why these great athletes are taking on this challenge for their chosen charities. The show will also include a heartfelt memorial tribute to Belak by Ron MacLean, incorporating footage showing the infectious enthusiasm and humour he brought to the training sessions.

“Wade’s death has been devastating for our entire BATTLE OF THE BLADES family, and our thoughts are with all members of his own family at this time. But we believe he would want us to move ahead, and we are looking forward to season three of BATTLE OF THE BLADES,” said Kirstine Stewart, executive vice president of CBC English Services.

“Our hearts go out to Wade’s family and friends and he is greatly missed by our cast and crew,” says John Brunton, Executive Producer and CEO of Insight Productions. “Our cast came together and told us that they felt strongly about doing the show as a tribute to Wade. BATTLE OF THE BLADES Season 3 has taken on a whole new meaning for them.”

New to the BATTLE OF THE BLADES cast competitor lineup is former NHL defenseman Todd Simpson. Hailing from North Vancouver, British Columbia and then Edmonton and Lethbridge, Alberta, Todd has a special connection with Wade Belak as he played his junior hockey for the Saskatoon Blades where Wade was his defensive partner. He began his NHL career with the Calgary Flames in 1994. He played with the Flames for four years and was named team captain in 1997. Todd went on to play for six other NHL team throughout the course of his 10 year career. An eighth NHL player is hoped to be cast this week who will partner with US World Team Member, Kim Navarro, who was paired with Wade Belak.

BATTLE OF THE BLADES partners stars of hockey and figure skating to battle it out in a weekly live skating competition for a $100,000 first prize donation to the charity of their choice. Broadcast from the MasterCard Centre in Toronto, the live elimination competition series. A total of $290,000 will be donated to charities throughout the 8-week series.

The first BATTLE OF THE BLADES live performance will be comprised of one-hour competitions on Sunday, September 25 and on Monday, September 26 at 8 p.m. (8:30 p.m. NT). Fans have asked for no elimination in the first week, but these performances will still count towards the first elimination held in week two. Subsequent weeks will feature performance shows on Sunday evenings followed by the dramatic, live “skate-off” results shows on Monday nights.

Ex-Calgary Flame (1996-2000, 2006) Cale Hulse also played for New Jersey, Nashville, Phoenix and Columbus. The 6’3″ Alberta native is no stranger to television sets, as he is married to actress Gina Lee Nolin.

Defenseman Curtis Leschyshyn won a Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 1996, and also spent time with the Quebec Nordiques (1988-1995) and Ottawa Senators. Curtis is an avid cyclist and is known as one of the most fit NHL players. 

Boyd Devereaux, an Ontario native, won the Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2002 and a World Junior Championships where he scored the winning goals in both the semi-final and gold medial games in 1997. Boyd played for four NHL teams including the Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Brad May was immortalized with broadcaster Rick Jeanneret’s famous “May Day!” call after scoring a series-clinching goal for Buffalo in the 1993 playoffs against Boston.  The former Toronto Maple Leaf (2008-2009) and Vancouver Canuck (1997-2000 and 2002-2004) won the Stanley Cup in 2008 with the Anaheim Ducks.

Bryan Berard, the Rhode Island native was the first overall pick in the 1995 NHL Draft and played for six NHL teams including the Toronto Maple Leafs. On March 11, 2000, while playing for the Leafs in a game against the Senators in Ottawa, the stick of Mariàn Hossa clipped Bryan in the right eye, severely injuring it. With incredible determination and after seven eye surgeries, Bryan returned to the NHL completing one of the greatest comeback stories in hockey history.

Tessa Bonhomme was part of Canada’s Gold Medal-winning women’s hockey team at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. A member of the Canadian National Women’s Hockey Team since 2004, she has won Gold and Silver medals in world championship competitions, along with numerous awards and records in college hockey during her time with the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Former NHL player and current Battle of the Blades contestant Wade Belak has been found dead in Toronto.

The 35-year-old former NHL enforcer was discovered in a Toronto condo on Wednesday, where he was staying while preparing for the CBC reality series Battle of the Blades.

“We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Wade Belak. We send our thoughts and condolences to his family and friends. He will be greatly missed,” Kirstine Stewart, executive VP of English services for the CBC, said.

Toronto police say there was no foul play involved and that the case will be treated as a suicide.

Belak is the third former NHL player to die in the past four months, with Derek Boogaard and Rick Rypien both committing suicide this year.

Source: Hollywood Reporter