Battle of the Blades

Everybody needs a buddy like Colby Armstrong

Armstrong's enthusiastic prairie boy expressions and light-hearted jock commentary are an audience favourite. This is what happens when a hockey player becomes a figure skating judge.
Colby Armstrong became an official judge on Battle of the Blades after a hamstring injury took him out of the competition. (CBC)

Colby Armstrong never expected to be a judge on Battle of the Blades. The Sportsnet analyst and former NHL hockey player was supposed to hit the ice as a skater — until he tore his hamstring during training.

Now he sits opposite of head judge Kurt Browning every week on Battle of the Blades. From his first week in the judge's chair, the audience got a taste of Armstrong's distinctive, enthusiastic prairie boy expressions and lighthearted hockey-jock commentary. And they were smitten.

Learn some of his vocabulary or, as we like to call them, "Colby-isms." Are you ready to speak like Colby Armstrong, bud?


Sit down with a cup of hot cocoa and take a sip every time Armstrong says "bud" or "buddy" while he delivers hot takes from the judge's seat. Try not to burn your tastebuds!

How many times can Colby say "buddy" in 60 seconds?

3 years ago
Duration 1:08
On a scale of one to buddy, how Colby Armstrong are you feeling today?

"I'm Canada's judge." 

While appearing on Sportsnet's Hockey Central Tonight, Armstrong didn't skip a beat when he called himself "Canada's judge."

"I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'm having a blast," he says in the video below.

Even though Armstrong claims to not know what he's doing, he has a bit of a background in figure skating. His mother Rosemary Armstrong is a figure skating coach in Saskatoon. Skating like a pro runs through his blood, bud.

"Planet Sheldon" 

During week four, Sheldon Kennedy and Kaitlyn Weaver skated to Nat King Cole's tune Smile from the movie Modern Times in a cinematic performance. Using props, expression and even some slick camera tricks, the performance took Armstrong out of this world.

"I love 'Planet Sheldon,'" swooned Armstrong after the performance. "You take us there every week. We are so lucky to see it."


"Get out of town on a bike!" 

Armstrong came out of left field with this one. In this behind-the-scenes video, he rattles off this catchphrase before introducing guest judge Sarah Nurse in week four.

Need more? Stream the entire episode to hear more judge's commentary from Nurse and Armstrong. 

"You went full P.J."

Armstrong was supposed to be Violetta Afanasieva's original skating partner this season. But after the hamstring injury knocked him out of the competition, P.J. Stock returned to Battle of the Blades to take Armstrong's place as her skating partner.

During week four, Stock danced his heart out on the ice to Do You Love Me from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack with Afansieva. The performance floored Armstrong.

"I wish I played hockey on your team," said Armstrong from the judge's dais. "We saw everything of it out here … the kind of guy you are: the great guy in the room, the fun, goofy guy, the tough guy we saw with the strong lifts … Buddy, you went full P.J."