Female hockey player joins Battle of the Blades

A female hockey player, Tessa Bonhomme, will skate for the first time in CBC reality series Battle of the Blades this fall.
Tessa Bonhomme is the first female hockey player to compete in Battle of the Blades. She is paired with figure skater David Pelletier. (CBC)

A female hockey player, Tessa Bonhomme, will skate for the first time in CBC reality series Battle of the Blades this fall.

Bonhomme, an Olympic gold medallist and member of the Canadian national women's hockey team, is to be paired with Olympic gold medal figure skater David Pelletier when the third season of Battle of the Blades kicks off Sept. 18.

The CBC  reality series asks hockey players to don figure skates and take up pairs skating, with the help of some of the world's best figure skating stars.

Canadians watching the hit series have been amazed by the sight of NHL greats such as Todd Warriner and last year's winner Valeri Bure demonstrating grace and artistry on the ice.

Bonhomme was part of Canada's gold medal-winning women's hockey team at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver and, like her teammates, has been a trailblazer for women's hockey.

"I can't wait to take on the NHL players and show them that women's hockey has come a long way,"  Bonhomme said in a statement released Monday.

"I am honoured to be the first woman representing all those who play our great game and with a partner like David Pelletier, we will try to take it easy on the NHL guys."

In Battle of the Blades she'll take on competitors such as former Toronto Maple Leaf Bryan Berard and legendary brawler Wade Belak, who played for the Calgary Flames and the Leafs.

The other hockey players competing in Season 3:

  • Brad May, a former Toronto Maple Leaf and Vancouver Canuck who won the Stanley Cup in 2007 with the Anaheim Ducks.
  • Boyd Devereaux, an Ontario native who won the Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2002 and also played with the Edmonton Oilers and the Leafs.
  • Defenceman Curtis Leschyshyn, who won a Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 1996, and also spent time with the Quebec Nordiques and Ottawa Senators.
  • Alberta native Cale Hulse who played for New Jersey, Nashville, Phoenix, Columbus and Calgary.

Another player is to be announced at a later date.

The figure skaters featured:

  • Pelletier, a three-time Canadian pairs champion, world champion and Olympic gold medallist with partner Jamie Salé.
  • Elena Berezhnaya, who skated with partner Anton Sikharulidze for the Russians and twice won the world championship as well as sharing the 2002 Olympic gold medal with Canadians Salé and Pelletier.
  • Canadian-born Tanith Belbin, a five-time U.S. ice dance champion, four-time World medallist and 2006 Olympic ice dance silver medalist with her partner Ben Agosto.
  • Five-time Canadian ice dance champion Marie-France Dubreuil, who competed with partner Stephane Richer in the first season.
  • Anabelle Langlois, a 2008 Canadian pairs champion who skated with Georges Laraque last season.
  • Russian-born Violetta Afanasieva who won the first-ever Extreme Ice Skating World Championship with Canadian partner/husband Peter Dack in 2006. Last season she skated with P.J. Stock.
  • American Kim Navarro, a U.S. world team member and two-time U.S. ice dance bronze medallist with partner Brent Bommentre.
  • Marcy Hinzmann-Harris, a U.S. World and Olympic Team member and two-time U.S. pairs medallist with partner Aaron Parchem.

The pairs will battle it out for a $100,000 first prize donation to the charity of their choice.

The elimination competition series airs Sunday nights at 8 p.m. on CBC-TV with a live results show every Monday at 8 p.m.