Press Release

CBC announces 'Battle of the Blades' pairs

Live performance shows begin on Sunday, Sept. 25

Tessa Bonhomme, a member of the Canadian national women's hockey team, will skate with David Pelletier on the third season of CBC's <i>Battle of the Blades</i>.
Tessa Bonhomme, a member of the Canadian national women's hockey team, will skate with David Pelletier on the third season of CBC's Battle of the Blades. (CBC)

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(09/19/2011) - CBC announced Sunday the eight pairs teams that have been partnered for the anticipated third season of the smash hit live series, Battle of the Blades. This year's Battle of the Blades cast will include former Toronto Maple Leaf and Montreal Canadien Russ Courtnall, who has generously stepped in to take the place of the late Wade Belak and skate for Belak's chosen charity, Tourette's Syndrome Neurodevelopmental Clinic at the Toronto Western Hospital, with Kim Navarro.

A native of Duncan, British Columbia, Courtnall is most well-known for his electrifying play and great skating ability during his time with the Leafs, Habs and five other NHL teams. Along with his impressive 15-year NHL career, Courtnall was also selected to represent Canada throughout his career at the world championships and the 1984 Olympic Games.

Battle of the Blades' live performances begin with two one-hour performance shows Sunday, September 25 at 8 p.m. and Monday, September 26 at 8 p.m. (8:30 p.m. NT). Fans have asked for no elimination in the first week, but these performances will still count towards the first elimination held in week two. Subsequent weeks will feature performance shows on Sunday evenings followed by the dramatic, live "skate-off" results shows on Monday nights, until the new champions are crowned.

The season 3 pairs are:

Violetta Afanasieva and Cale Hulse -- Russian-born Violetta Afanasieva won the first-ever Extreme Ice Skating World Championship with Canadian partner/husband Pete Dack in 2006. She returns from Season 2 of Battle of the Blades to skate with ex-Calgary Flame Cale Hulse, who also played for New Jersey, Nashville, Phoenix and Columbus.

Charity: The Canadian Cancer Society.

Tanith Belbin and Boyd Devereaux -- Five-time U.S. ice dance champion, four-time world medalist and 2006 Olympic silver medalist, Tanith Belbin is paired with former Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers player Boyd Devereaux, an Ontario native who won the Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2002.

Charities: The Montreal Neurological Institute (Belbin) and Epilepsy - Huron-Perth-Bruce (Devereaux).

Elena Berezhnaya and Curtis Leschyshyn -- Olympic gold medalist, two-time world champion and four-time Russian national champion Elena Berezhnaya is partnered with Curtis Leschyshyn, a Stanley Cup champion with the Colorado Avalanche in 1996 who also spent time with the Quebec Nordiques and Ottawa Senators. Following the unforgettable judging scandal at the 2002 Winter Olympics, Elena, with partner Anton Sikharulidze, shares the 2002 Olympic gold medal with Canadians Jamie Salé and David Pelletier. Elena and David now face each other again in Battle of the Blades.

Charity: Children's Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan.

Tessa Bonhomme and David Pelletier -- Tessa Bonhomme, Battle of the Blades' first female hockey player, was part of Canada's gold medal-winning women's hockey team at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver and a member of the Canadian national women's hockey team since 2004. She will skate with David Pelletier, a three-time Canadian pairs champion, world champion, Grand Prix Final champion and Olympic gold medalist, who in 2002 captured Canada's first Olympic gold medal in pairs skating in 42 years.

Charities: Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation 'CIBC Run for the Cure' - Sudbury Chapter (Bonhomme) and Ronald McDonald House Charities Canada (Pelletier).

Marie-France Dubreuil and Bryan Berard -- Returning from Season 1, world silver medalist and five-time Canadian ice dance champion, Marie-France Dubreuil is paired with Bryan Berard, a first overall NHL draft pick, winner of the Calder Trophy and Bill Masterdon Memorial Trophy. Bryan battled back from a severe eye injury in one of the greatest comeback stories in hockey history.

Charity: Do It For Daron (DIFD) with the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health.

Marcy Hinzmann-Harris and Todd Simpson -- Marcy Hinzmann-Harris, a U.S. world and Olympic team member and two-time U.S. pairs medalist is skating with former NHL defenseman Todd Simpson, the former captain of the Calgary Flames who also played for six other NHL teams.

Charities: Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (Hinzmann-Harris) and YMCA's Y Strong Kids Campaign (Simpson).

Anabelle Langlois and Brad May -- Returning from Season 2, world and Olympic team member and 2008 Canadian pairs champion Anabelle Langlois is skating with Brad May, who was immortalized with broadcaster Rick Jeanneret's famous "May Day!" call after scoring a series-clinching goal for Buffalo in the 1993 playoffs against Boston. The former Toronto Maple Leaf (2008-09) and Vancouver Canuck (1997-2000 and 2002-04) won the Stanley Cup in 2008 with the Anaheim Ducks.

Charity: Autism Speaks.

Kim Navarro and Russ Courtnall -- Russ Courtnall, part of last year's Battle of the Blades line up, will be returning to the show this season, paired with new competitor Kim Navarro, a U.S. world team member and two-time U.S. ice dance bronze medalist. They are both skating for Wade Belak's charity chosen for Belak's daughter Andie, who has Tourette's Syndrome.

Charity: Tourette's Syndrome Neurodevelopmental Clinic at the Toronto Western Hospital.