Battle of the Blades

Colby Armstrong injured during Battle of the Blades training: P.J. Stock steps in as replacement

Working on a lift with partner Violetta Afanasieva, he moved to protect her head as they stumbled, tearing his hamstring in the process.

While working on a lift with partner Violetta Afanasieva, they stumbled and he tore his hamstring.

Last week, as we prepared to announce our newly paired teams for Battle of the Blades, we had to hit pause. Hockey player Colby Armstrong, who had been paired with figure skater Violetta Afanasieva, was injured during training. Within several hours it became clear he'd be unable to skate this season. Fortunately, P.J. Stock, who fans will remember as Violetta's on-ice partner in Season 2, has agreed to step in. 

Colby Armstrong gets injured protecting Violetta Afanasieva from falling during a lift. 0:37

We spoke with Sandra Bezic, executive producer and co-creator of Battle of the Blades, for details. 

What exactly happened during training last week?

Colby and Violetta were working on a low cantilevered lift. Violetta's body weight got away from his centre. Rather than letting her drop and potentially hit her head, he took the strain himself and as a result tore his hamstring.

What does this mean for the show? 

An injury to one competitor affects them all. It's a reminder of the risk involved and that there are real stakes to every step, every move.

Do you have any message for Colby?

Colby, you captured our hearts with your enthusiasm and humour. Your mom (who is a figure skating coach) would have been really proud of your progress. I'm so sorry that Canadians won't see you perform this season and really hope that after a full recovery you'll come back if there's another season!

And what words do you have for P.J.?

P.J., thank you so much for stepping up without hesitation to fill in for a friend. You and Vi were fantastic in Season 2 and we are so excited to see you on the ice together again.

Stay tuned for more news on this new pairing. In the meantime, please join us in thanking Colby for his commitment to the series and in wishing him a speedy recovery.