NHL veterans and champion figure skaters pair up for a hot new season premiering Sept. 26 at 8 p.m.
The hit series BATTLE OF THE BLADES is back on CBC Television for another season that promises more drama, blood, sweat, tears and, for the first time, world-class international competitors from Russia and the United States. With a fresh crop of eight ex-NHL hockey players including Theo Fleury and Patrice Brisebois, as well as four returning and four new champion figure skaters including the legendary Ekaterina Gordeeva, the competition will be fierce for the top prize of $100,000, donated to the winners' charity of choice.
The season begins Sunday, Sept. 26 at 8 p.m. local withBATTLE OF THE BLADES: GAME ON, a one-hour, behind-the-scenes training camp episode that follows the contestants as they prepare for the fierce competition ahead and reveals the eight pairs. The pressure-packed live competition begins the following Sunday, Oct. 3 at 8 p.m. local.
More than 1.7 million viewers on average watched BATTLE OF THE BLADES last season, making the series one of CBC's most successful shows. "We could not be happier with Canada's response to this truly homegrown series," said Kirstine Stewart, Interim Executive Vice-President, English Services and General Manager of CBC Television. "This year's amazing lineup of world class athletes will ensure BATTLE OF THE BLADES is bigger and better than ever as CBC continues to deliver successful and relevant top-tier programming and feeds the nation's love for all things hockey."
"We are thrilled going into our second season of BATTLE OF THE BLADES with such an incredible cast of competitors," says John Brunton, President and Executive Producer, Insight Productions. "Fans can expect to see the competition taken to an entirely new level with this year's participation of Russian and American skaters who are bringing an international twist to this ground-breaking Canadian series."
This season, fans can expect to see additional behind-the-scenes footage, candid interviews and an in-depth look at the skaters' journeys - from learning to collaborate with their partners to overcoming obstacles as they face possible elimination. Each week, the pairs perform a new routine on a live Sunday night telecast. Viewers vote for their favourite pairs and the bottom two return the following night (Monday) for a skate-off. The judging panel decides which of the pairs gets to continue. The eliminated team gets $25,000 to give to their charity of choice.
This year's cast includes:
Patrice Brisebois: Brisebois played defense for the Montreal Canadiens for 15 years in a 17-year NHL career, winning one Stanley Cup and later becoming a NASCAR Canada racecar driver.
Valeri Bure: Known as the Russian Pocket Rocket for his world-class speed, Valeri played for five teams and collected over 400 points throughout his 10-year NHL career.
Kelly Chase: A hardnosed NHLer, Chase in 1998 earned the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for helping those with developmental disabilities participate in organized hockey.
Russ Courtnall: A former Olympian, the speedy right winger is known as much for his style and flair as for the 300 goals he scored in 15 NHL seasons.
Theo Fleury: A gritty forward who collected more than 1,000 points during a 15-year career in the NHL, Fleury also twice represented Canada at the Olympics, winning a gold medal in 2002.
Georges Laraque: One of the toughest players in the NHL, Laraque is also known for his charitable efforts, notably for the victims of the Haiti earthquake earlier this year.
PJ Stock: Never one to shy away from the rough stuff, Stock played 235 games in the NHL and is currently a sports broadcaster on CBC'S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA.
Todd Warriner: A first-round draft choice in 1992 by the Quebec Nordiques, Warriner was a hard-working NHL winger who scored the Leaf's first goal at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
Violetta Afanasieva: Afanasieva joined the Bolshoi Moscow Circus on Ice at the age of 14 and won the first-ever Extreme Ice Skating World Championship with Canadian partner/husband Peter Dack.
Shae-Lynn Bourne: The 10-time Canadian Dance Champion returns for her second season on BATTLE OF THE BLADES. Bourne and her partner Victor Kraatz were the first North American ice dance team to capture the World Figure Skating Championship.
Isabelle Brasseur: Another of four returning skaters, she won five Canadian pairs championships and the World Title with partner Lloyd Eisler, as well as bronze medals at the 1992 and 1994 Olympic Games.
Ekaterina Gordeeva: Two-time Olympic Gold medalist and four-time World Champion, this internationally renowned Russian native is considered by many to be the world's best pairs figure skater.
Christine Hough-Sweeney: Another return performer, she represented Canada, along with her partner Doug Ladret, at two Olympic Games and enjoyed a prolific professional career.
Kyoko Ina: A Japanese-American pairs skater, she competed in three Olympic Games and won the U.S. Championships five times with two different partners.
Anabelle Langlois: Competed at her second Olympic Games in Vancouver, making a remarkable comeback from a near-career-ending foot injury during the 2008-09 season.
Jamie Salé: This reigning BATTLE OF THE BLADESchampion won a gold medal at the 2002 Olympics with partner David Pelletier and the World Championships in 2001.
Download Athlete Bios (PDF: 350 KB)
For more information about the competitors, visit www.cbc.ca/battle, the official online portal of BATTLE OF THE BLADES. In addition to videos and behind-the-scenes photos, the site offers viewers the opportunity to become fans of their favourite pair and track each participant's activities as they strive to win the competition.
BATTLE OF THE BLADES is the brainchild of Kevin Albrecht, with development by Sandra Bezic. BATTLE OF THE BLADES executive producers are John Brunton, Barbara Bowlby and Kevin Albrecht. It is produced by Insight Productions in association with CBC Television.BATTLE OF THE BLADES airs live on Sunday and Monday nights at 8 p.m. on CBC Television.