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Battle of the Blades: The Countdown Continues

Battle fans! You'll no doubt have seen Sunday's première of Season Three of Battle of the Blades, Game On. If you missed it, you can check it out at the bottom of this page. All the pairs were announced, and there was a beautiful tribute to Wade Belak, who sadly passed away this summer.


The live shows start this coming weekend on Sunday night, and of course we have the Monday night show too, both at 8pm (8.30 NT), and we here at CBC Live will be there bringing you some behind the scenes snapshots...


Now, let's take a closer look at this year's pairs (and make sure you follow them on Twitter):


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1. Violetta Afanasieva and Cale Hulse - Russian-born Violetta won the first-ever Extreme Ice Skating World Championship with Canadian partner/husband Pete Dack in 2006. She returns from Season 2 to skate with ex-Calgary Flame Hulse, who also played for New Jersey, Nashville, Phoenix and Columbus. They're skating for The Canadian Cancer Society.


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


3. Elena Berezhnaya and Curtis Leschyshyn - Olympic Gold Medalist, two-time World Champion and four-time Russian National Champion Elena is partnered with 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... They're skating for the Children's Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan.


4. Tessa Bonhomme and David Pelletier - Tessa is Battle's 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. They're skating for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation 'CIBC Run for the Cure' - Sudbury Chapter (Tessa) and Ronald McDonald House Charities Canada (David).


5. Marie-France Dubreuil and Bryan Berard - Returning from Season 1, World Silver Medalist and five-time Canadian Ice Dance Champion, Marie-France is paired with 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. They're skating for Do It For Daron (DIFD) with the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health.


6. Marcy Hinzmann-Harris and Todd Simpson - Marcy, 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. They're skating for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (Marcy) and YMCA's Strong Kids Campaign (Todd).


7. Anabelle Langlois and Brad May - Returning from Season 2, World and Olympic Team Member and 2008 Canadian Pairs Champion Anabelle is skating with 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. They're skating for Autism Speaks.


8. Kim Navarro and Russ Courtnall - Courtnall, part of last year's Battle 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, Tourette's Syndrome Neurodevelopmental Clinic at the Toronto Western Hospital, chosen for Wade's daughter Andie, who has Tourette's Syndrome.


And you can watch Game On below:


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