The new edition of CBC's Battle of the Blades will feature a mix of some of the NHL's former tough guys and slick skaters.
Players such as Theo Fleury, Valeri Bure, Patrice Brisebois and Georges Laraque are among the eight players announced Tuesday by CBC that will take part in the second season of the reality show, which pairs world-class figure skaters with former hockey players.
The new season begins on Sept. 26 with a behind-the-scenes training camp episode. Competition begins on Oct. 3.
After a successful inaugural season in 2009, when an average of more than 1.7 million viewers watched the show, CBC has added top-notch American and Russian figure skaters to the group of top Canadian stars.
“Fans can expect to see the competition taken to an entirely new level with this year's participation of Russian and American skaters who are bringing an international twist to this groundbreaking Canadian series,” said John Brunton, president and executive producer of Insight Productions.
Fleury scored more than 1,000 points during his 15-year NHL career, while Bure, the younger brother of former Vancouver Canucks star Pavel Bure, picked up more than 400 points in 10 seasons.
Brisebois played 17 seasons, including 15 seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, while Laraque was considered one of the NHL's toughest players to play the game. He is joined by Kelly Chase, a tough right-winger who picked up more than 2,000 career penalty minutes with the St. Louis Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs and Hartford Whalers.
Also joining in the battle to win $100,000 for their favourite charity is Russ Courtnall, a slick-skating winger who played 15 NHL seasons; P.J. Stock, who played 235 career NHL games with the New York Rangers, Hartford, Montreal, Philadelphia and Boston, and is now a member of the Hockey Night in Canada team; and Todd Warriner, a journeyman forward, who played more than 450 NHL games with six teams.
Each week, the pairs team up to perform a live routine on Sunday evenings, with viewers voting for their top duo. The following night, the two lowest-ranking teams return for a skate-off, with the loser, as determined by a panel of judges, eliminated.
Eliminated skaters receive $25,000 for their charity.
Among the Canadian skaters are 10-Canadian dance champion Shae-Lynn Bourne; five-time Canadian pairs champ Isabelle Brassuer; and two-time Olympians Christine Hough-Sweeney and Anabelle Langlois.
Jamie Sale, a gold medallist from the 2002 Olympics with partner David Pelletier, is returning to defend her Battle of the Blades crown.
Among the world skaters taking part include four-time world champion Ekaterina Gordeeva of Russia and fellow Russian Violetta Afanasieva, a winner of the Extreme Ice Skating World Championship with her partner and husband, Peter Dack of Canada.
Kyoko Ina, a five-time U.S. champion, who competed in three Olympic Games, rounds out the roster of eight figure skaters.
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