Everything about Battle of the Blades, eh?

The complete lineup of pairs announced for Battle of the Blades

From a media release:

With just over a week to go until show time, the skaters are sharpening their blades and their moves. CBC today announced the pairings for the upcoming return of the hit live-competition series BATTLE OF THE BLADES (Season 5, 1×120, 6×60), including the remaining NHL veteran and Olympic hockey players who will perform with their World and Olympic figure skating partners in the hopes of winning the Season 5 championship, and a $100,000 donation to the charities of their choice. BATTLE OF THE BLADES, the highest-rated original English-language Canadian format of all time* and produced by Insight Productions, launches with a special two-hour premiere on Thursday, September 19 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) on CBC and the free CBC Gem streaming service.

The former NHL and Olympic hockey players announced today are: 18-year professional hockey veteran and former Toronto Maple Leaf, Colton Orr; Olympic Games gold and silver medal-winning hockey player for Team USA, Amanda Kessel; 13-year professional hockey player and former New York Islander Bruno Gervais; and 14-season NHL veteran and current Calgary Flames Director of Player Assistance, Brian McGrattan. Orr, Kessel, Gervais and McGrattan join previously announced fellow hockey players Natalie Spooner and Sheldon Kennedy as Season 5 competitors.

Former Toronto Maple Leaf and Montreal Canadien, and current NHL broadcast analyst, Colby Armstrong had committed to the series, but while training last week with his on-ice partner, Violetta Afanasieva, he sustained a hamstring injury that prevents him from continuing in the competition. He has been forced to withdraw, and Afanasieva will continue to train and perform with her new partner, former NHL player, current sports broadcaster, and past BATTLE OF THE BLADES competitor and judge P.J. Stock, who was also her partner in Season 2 of the hit series.

The pairs preparing to hit the ice for the live competition beginning September 19, are:

Violetta Afanasieva and P.J. Stock  
World Extreme pairs champion and three-time BATTLE OF THE BLADES fan favourite Afanasieva will be performing with Quebec native Stock. He began his NHL career with the New York Rangers, before signing with the Montreal Canadiens, and continuing with the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins. Stock is a hockey broadcast analyst, having appeared on Hockey Night in Canada for nearly a decade, and he currently appears on RDS. Afanasieva was also his partner when he competed on Season 2 of BATTLE OF THE BLADES, and he appeared as a judge on Season 4. He is competing this season on behalf of the Stock Fund in support of the ALS Society of Quebec, which works to provide support and referrals for people living with ALS and their loved ones, fund research, and raise awareness of the disease, while Afanasieva is competing in support of the Humane Society of Kawartha Lakes, providing protection and provision for the humane care and treatment of all animals.

A man and woman on skates.Amanda Evora and Colton Orr
The Season 4 winner and an Olympian in pairs skating, Evora will be performing with Orr, a Winnipeg, Manitoba-born 18-year professional hockey veteran who played close to 500 games in the NHL. Orr played for the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers, establishing himself as a top enforcer, which earned him a major contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He suffered a concussion during the 2010/2011 season but returned to the ice the following season, playing for an additional two years before his retirement. He is currently coaching youth hockey at the Colton Orr Hockey Academy as well as doing broadcast work in Toronto and New York. He is competing in support of the Smilezone Foundation, which strives to improve the lives of children receiving medical treatment at health care facilities across Canada, while Evora is competing in support of Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada, which works with communities across Canada to encourage and empower children and youth, helping them set a path for success.

A man and woman on skates.Ekaterina Gordeeva and Bruno Gervais
The Season 2 winner and two-time Olympic Games gold medallist in pairs skating, Gordeeva will be performing with Gervais, a Longueuil, Quebec-born 13-year professional hockey veteran. Gervais was initially drafted by the New York Islanders, where he was a strong defensive figure for years, and after achieving a career-high 19 points in 63 games, Gervais was awarded the Nassau County Athlete of the Year Award in 2009. He played with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers before shifting his hockey career to Europe, where he spent two years playing for Eisbären Berlin. He is competing in support of the Gervais-Talbot Foundation, which supports disadvantaged youth, while Gordeeva is competing in support of the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

A man and woman on skates.Vanessa James and Brian McGrattan
A six-time French pairs champion, 2018 Grand Prix Final champion and 2019 European champion, James will be performing with McGrattan, a Hamilton, Ontario-born 14-year NHL veteran. McGrattan made his NHL debut with the Ottawa Senators, establishing himself as the team’s top enforcer, and one of the best in the league. After being traded to the Phoenix Coyotes, his struggles with substance abuse led him to seek help, entering a program that would help him change the course of his life. He returned to the NHL with the Calgary Flames, where he was a positive influence on his team, and following his retirement, he rejoined the Flames as the team’s Director of Player Assistance. He is competing in support of the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society, which works to help homeless animals in Alberta communities, while James is competing in support of the Alzheimer Society of Canada, which works to make life better for Canadians affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, and advances research to improve diagnosis, treatments and to find a cure.

A man and woman on skates.Amanda Kessel and Eric Radford
A two-time World pairs champion and two-time Olympic Games medallist, Radford will be performing with Kessel, a Madison, Wisconsin-born hockey player for Team USA. At the start of her career, she played for the United States Under-18 Team, and was named the World Under-18 tournament’s most valuable forward, scoring six goals and 13 assists which led the team to a gold medal. Kessel also helped lead Team USA to a silver medal at Sochi 2014, and despite suffering a debilitating concussion in 2014, she helped them to a gold medal at PyeongChang 2018. Since then, Kessel has been playing in the National Women’s Hockey League for the Metropolitan Riveters. She graduated from college with a degree in Sports Management, and has her own clothing line, AK28 with Gongshow Gear. Kessel is competing on behalf of SickKids Foundation, in support of The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, while Radford is competing in support of Egale Canada, which works to improve the lives of all LGBTQI2S people.

A man and woman on skates.Natalie Spooner and Andrew Poje
A three-time World Ice Dance medallist, three-time Canadian Ice Dance champion, and two-time Olympian with Kaitlyn Weaver, Poje will be performing with Spooner, a Toronto-born hockey player with Team Canada who won a gold medal at Sochi 2014 and silver medal at PyeongChang 2018. Also in 2014, she became the first woman in hockey history to claim both the Olympic Games gold medal and the Clarkson Cup for the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. Spooner is competing in support of Fast and Female, a charity dedicated to keeping girls healthy and active in sports by introducing them to inspiring athlete role models at non-competitive, fun-filled events all over North America, while Poje is competing in support of Right To Play, which works to protect, educate and empower children to rise above adversity using the power of play.

A man and woman on skates.Kaitlyn Weaver and Sheldon Kennedy
A three-time World Ice Dance medallist, three-time Canadian Ice Dance champion, and two-time Olympian with Poje, Weaver will be performing with Kennedy, a Manitoba-born former NHL player who played for three teams over the course of his eight-year NHL career: the Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins and Calgary Flames. For his tireless work as a spokesperson and advocate for abuse survivors, Kennedy has received numerous awards, including being named a Member of The Order of Canada (2015) and a Member of The Order of Manitoba (2015), and receiving the Hockey Canada Order of Merit (2018). Kennedy and Weaver are competing in support of Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities, a national charity dedicated to helping kids overcome financial and accessibility barriers to sport and recreation in an effort to provide inclusive play for kids of all abilities.

Returning this fall, BATTLE OF THE BLADES combines athletes from two of Canada’s favourite sports — figure skating and hockey — as they pair up in a live, high-stakes figure skating competition for the charity of their choice. Hockey Night in Canada’s Ron MacLean will reprise his role as host, with four-time Canadian and four-time World champion figure skater Kurt Browning returning as head judge. Beloved Canadian Olympic Games ice dance champions, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, will be rink-side with him as guest judges for select episodes. First launched in 2009, BATTLE OF THE BLADES was broadcast on CBC from 2009–2013 (4 seasons, 57 episodes) and remains the highest-rated original English-language Canadian format of all time.*

A CBC original series, BATTLE OF THE BLADES is produced by Insight Productions. The series is executive produced by Insight’s John Brunton, Lindsay Cox, Erin Brock, and Mark Lysakowski and is co-created and executive produced by Olympian and World & Canadian Figure Skating Hall of Famer Sandra Bezic. For CBC, Sally Catto is General Manager, Programming; Jennifer Dettman is Executive Director, Unscripted Content; and Susan Taylor is Executive in Charge of Production.

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CBC announces complete lineup of figure skaters for Battle of the Blades

From a media release:

CBC today announced the complete lineup of figure skaters confirmed to compete live in the new season of hit returning series BATTLE OF THE BLADES (Season 5, 1×120, 6×60), with additional skaters rounding out the team who will be paired with hockey players to vie for the Season 5 championship. BATTLE OF THE BLADES, the highest-rated original English-language Canadian format of all time* and produced by Insight Productions, launches with a special two-hour premiere on Thursday, September 19 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) on CBC and the free CBC Gem streaming service. The complete lineup of hockey players, as well as the pairings for the competition, will be announced in the coming weeks.

First-time competitors include three-time World Ice Dance medallists, Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, and two-time World Pairs champion, and two-time Olympic Games medallist, Eric Radford. Season 2 winner and two-time Olympic Games gold medallist in pairs skating, Ekaterina Gordeeva, and Season 4 winner and Olympian in pairs skating, Amanda Evora, will return to the ice. They join previously announced figure skaters Vanessa James and Violetta Afanasieva.

Ice dancers Weaver and Poje have represented Canada internationally for 13 years. These beloved fan-favourites have won three World Ice Dance medals, two gold medals at the Grand Prix Final Championships and three Canadian Ice Dance titles. They have represented Canada in ice dancing twice at the Olympic Games, placing seventh at Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018.

Radford is a two-time Olympic Games medallist with pairs partner Meagan Duhamel with whom he also won back-to-back World Championship titles in 2015 and 2016, including an undefeated season in 2015. The pair won their seventh consecutive Canadian pairs’ title in 2018, setting an all-time record. Radford and Duhamel were part of the Canadian figure skating team’s silver medal at Sochi 2014, and gold at PyeongChang 2018. Radford is the only openly gay male to have won an Olympic Games gold medal.

Gordeeva and late pairs partner and husband Sergei Grinkov are two-time Olympic Games gold medallists, four-time World champions, and two-time European champions. Icons of Russian pair skating, Gordeeva and Grinkov are still considered the greatest of all time. Since her tragic loss, Gordeeva has gone on as a soloist and continues to perform worldwide. Gordeeva and partner Valeri Bure won Season 2 of BATTLE OF THE BLADES, with $100,000 for both Cardiac Kids and Compassion Canada charities.

Evora is a five-time pairs medallist at the U.S. Championships with former partner Mark Ladwig, with whom she represented Team U.S.A. at multiple international competitions including two World Championships over the span of 10 years. Evora and Ladwig competed on the American figure skating team for the Olympic Winter Games Vancouver 2010.  In 2013, Evora and partner Scott Thornton won the fourth season of BATTLE OF THE BLADES, winning $100,000 for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

Returning this fall, BATTLE OF THE BLADES combines athletes from two of Canada’s favourite sports — figure skating and hockey — as they pair up in a live, high-stakes figure skating competition for the charity of their choice. Hockey Night in Canada’s Ron MacLean will reprise his role as host, with four-time Canadian and four-time World champion figure skater Kurt Browning returning as head judge. Beloved Canadian Olympic Games ice dance champions, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, will be rink-side with him as guest judges for select episodes. Previously announced hockey players for the new iteration of the hugely popular format include hockey players Sheldon Kennedy and Natalie Spooner. First launched in 2009, BATTLE OF THE BLADES was broadcast on CBC from 2009—2013 (4 seasons, 57 episodes) and remains the highest-rated original English-language Canadian format of all time.*

A CBC original series, BATTLE OF THE BLADES is produced by Insight Productions. The series is executive produced by Insight’s John Brunton, Lindsay Cox, Erin Brock, and Mark Lysakowski and is co-created and executive produced by Olympian and World & Canadian Figure Skating Hall of Famer Sandra Bezic. 

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Comments and queries for the week of April 26

Our family is so happy that Battle of the Blades is returning. This was one show we all watched as a family. Bravo to the contestants, as it takes determination and commitment. Can’t wait until Season 5 starts. —The Kosturiks


I came across a website that has a history of the Toronto police from 1870-1920, which I find interesting because much of what is discussed has turned up in Murdoch Mysteries episodes. One thing the site points out is that police stations at that time were built with space to house the homeless and that the police were basically the only agency to deal with this issue. If this is true, perhaps homelessness could be the focus of an episode in Season 13. —Mary


So I am halfway through the second episode of Hudson & Rex and I am still waiting to hear that beautiful Newfoundland accent. The only thing a Newfoundlander will appreciate about this show is a little scenery shown in the background. That’s actually quite sad. Viewers get to see a little of Newfoundland but that don’t actually get to hear it. —Bradley

Got a comment or question about Canadian TV? Email greg.david@tv-eh.com or via Twitter @tv_eh.

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CBC announces the return of Battle of the Blades

From a media release:

CBC today announced the return of hit competition series BATTLE OF THE BLADES (Season 5, 8×60), from Insight Productions. Returning this fall, the revitalized series combines athletes from two of Canada’s favourite sports — figure skating and hockey — as they pair up in a live, high-stakes figure skating competition. In this new iteration of the hugely popular format, teams will once again compete for the charity of their choice. Further details will be announced later this spring.

First launched in 2009, BATTLE OF THE BLADES was broadcast on CBC from 2009 – 2013 (4 seasons, 57 episodes) and remains the highest-rated original English-language Canadian format of all time.*

A CBC original series, BATTLE OF THE BLADES is produced by Insight Productions. The series is executive produced by Insight’s John Brunton, Lindsay Cox, Erin Brock, and Mark Lysakowski and is co-created and executive produced by Olympian and World & Canadian Figure Skating Hall of Famer Sandra Bezic. For CBC, Sally Catto is General Manager, Programming; Jennifer Dettman is Executive Director, Unscripted Content; and Susan Taylor is Executive in Charge of Production.

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Battle of the Blades names its winner

Amanda Evora and Scott Thornton

From a media release:

CANADA’S VOTES WERE COUNTED AND THE BATTLE OF THE BLADES’ SEASON FOUR CHAMPIONS ARE AMANDA EVORA & SCOTT THORNTON

In perhaps the most enthralling season ever for the CBC original BATTLE OF THE BLADES, Amanda Evora & Scott Thornton were crowned Season Four champions in a grand spectacle tonight. Having received the most votes from coast to coast, following an extended voting period ending Friday, the final outcome caps off an exhilarating season. It was seven intense weeks of twists and turns, both dramatically and on the ice, with perhaps the most advanced all around skating ever seen on BATTLE OF THE BLADES.

After two routines last week and stellar praise from Kurt Browning and fellow judges Jamie Salé and P.J. Stock, it was up to Canada’s votes alone to determine the winner as the judges didn’t score the final performances. The numbers were close between the three finalists – Violetta Afanasieva & Jason Strudwick, Marie-France Dubreuil & Mathieu Dandenault, and Amanda Evora & Scott Thornton – but when the snow fell at the end of it, it was Amanda & Scott who would earn the most votes and be declared champions of Season Four.

Canada’s votes for Amanda & Scott were also a major gift for The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation with a $100,000 donation as result. Second runners up Violetta Afanasieva & Jason Strudwick and third runners up Marie-France Dubreuil & Mathieu Dandenault will receive $35,000 and $30,000 respectively for their charities.

It was a jam-packed finale with all 16 skaters returning for a special group number to start the show. Having hoisted 10 Stanley Cups and brandishing four Olympic medals among them, the highly decorated Season Four skaters looked on as the three final pairs performed a special sextet to celebrate the season. Fans also enjoyed a special performance from Kurt Browning and a guest routine from Mini Blades champions Georgia-Ann Reidl and Austin Martell.

New for Season Four, the Mini Blades competitions were a partnership between CBC and Skate Canada where select clubs were invited to host their own Mini Blades competitions, to serve as a fundraising initiative and to spotlight local skating clubs across Canada. Georgie and Austin hail from the Stayner Skating Club of Stayner, ON.

Fans can also watch the final Season Four winners, judges, choreographers and host Ron MacLean reflect on the past seven weeks in a one hour episode, which will air Dec. 1 at 8 p.m (8:30 NT). Loaded with exclusive footage and behind the scenes revelations, BATTLE OF THE BLADES devotees can celebrate the stories from a riveting season.

Amanda & Scott join an elite group of skaters with Season One champions Jamie Salé & Craig Simpson, Season Two Champions Ekaterina Gordeeva & Valeri Bure, and Season Three Champions David Pelletier & Tessa Bonhomme. As Season Four concludes, BATTLE OF THE BLADES has raised over $1 million for various charities since the first episode aired in 2009.

First time participant Amanda Evora is two-time U.S. Pairs Silver Medallist and the first ever Filipino-American to compete in the Winter Olympics. Her partner Scott Thornton was drafted third overall in 1989 by the Toronto Maple Leafs and in his 18-year NHL career also played for the Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens, Dallas Stars, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks.
BATTLE OF THE BLADES is the highest-rated original Canadian format of all time. Combining athletes from two of Canada’s favourite sports, figure skating and hockey, eight World and Olympic figure skaters pair up with eight NHL hockey greats in the ultimate skating competition for charity. Anchoring CBC’s 2013 Fall Sunday night schedule, BATTLE OF THE BLADES airs at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) on CBC.

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