Battle of the Blades·Overheard

'How tight are the clothes?' Pro hockey players get real about figure skating for the first time

Hockey skaters dish their hopes and fears before stepping into figure skates for ‘Battle of the Blades’

Hockey skaters dish their hopes and fears before stepping into figure skates for ‘Battle of the Blades’

Two-time Stanley Cup champion Bryan Bickell counts his falls on an early day of Battle of the Blades training. (CBC)

A new season of Battle of the Blades premies on October 22, only on CBC and CBC Gem.

They're NHL players and Olympic medallists — fearless when it comes to pressure on ice. But figure skating? That's a whole different story for the eight hockey players on Season 6 of Battle of the Blades.

Before starting their gruelling bootcamp training, the hockey players connected virtually with their figure skating partners, coaches and choreographers over Zoom. Here's what we overheard.

"In my house growing up, figure skating was the F-word."

Calgary Inferno player Jessica Campbell had never touched a pair of figure skates until a month before training — and she's already a natural. She's teaming up with Asher Hill from CBC Sport's That Figure Skating Show.

"I had 11 surgeries before turning 30… but I'm scared about this more than any one of those."

Former Calgary Flames player Akim Aliu has been through the wringer, but toe picks are a totally different story. He's got six-time French pairs champion Vanessa James to show him the ropes.

"I certainly had to be cautious of the toe picks."

Speaking of toe picks, Olympic medallist Jennifer Botterill had a taste of what happens when you lean too far forward on figure skates. She joins figure skating champion Eric Radford on the ice.

"How tight are the clothes going to be?"

Two-time Stanley Cup champion Bryan Bickell would rather wear his old Chicago Blackhawks jersey than a tight leotard. Fortunately for Bryan, the wardrobe department on Battle of the Blades will put him at ease. He'll look stunning next to his skating partner — and Season 5 winner of Battle — Kaitlyn Weaver.

"If you want me to be groovy, I'll be groovy."

Former LA Kings right-winger Anthony Stewart isn't afraid of a little choreography. He's willing to learn everything he can with his figure skating partner and familiar Battle contender Violetta Afanasieva.

"[My wife asked], 'Are you more nervous about this or the Olympics?' And I was like, 'I think I'm more nervous about this.'"

NHL alumni Wojtek Wolski represented Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics. He teams up with Olympic figure skater Meagan Duhamel to bring home the gold.

"I'm open to putting myself in danger. I'm willing to try anything."

When Meghan Agosta is off the ice from the Canadian National Women's Hockey Team, she works as a constable with the Vancouver Police Department. She'll tear up the ice with her partner in crime and Season 5 Battle finalist Andrew Poje.

"We're gonna have one skate where she picks me up. It's gotta happen!"

Former NHL player Kris Versteeg recalls when Natalie Spooner picked up Andrew Poje in Season 5. But there's quite a height difference between him and Dancing on Ice's Carlotta Edwards. Are they up to the task?

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