Monday, September 19, 2011

Battle of the Blades 3 pairings

Yesterday's episode was a complete waste of time. There was absolutely no skating and it turned into a tribute to Wade Belak. At the conclusion of the show they finally revealed Belak's replacement. I had predicted that it would be a former contestant which would make it easier to get by without boot camp. I also guessed it would be a local guy because that would create less chaos in the ex-payer's social life. I would have guessed Tie Domi because he would be more than capable of replacing the popular Belak. Instead it turned out to be Russ Courtnall who would was likely the worse competitor in the history of the game.

Anyway here are the contestants.

Violetta Afanasieva and Cale Hulse:
Violetta is an extreme ice skating world champion who participated in Blades last year. Cale is a former Flames defenceman from Calgary. They're skating for the Canadian Cancer Society, which is close to Cale's heart since his father has been fighting cancer for 12 years.

Tanith Belbin and Boyd Devereaux: Tanith is a five-time U.S. ice dance champion and an Olympic silver medalist. Boyd scored the gold medal goal against Russia at the 1997 World Junior Championships and won a Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2002. His career ended in a Spengler Cup game when a hit fractured a vertebra in his neck. Tanith and Boyd are skating for the Montreal Neurological Institute and Epilepsy: Huron-Perth-Bruce.

Elena Berezhnaya and Curtis Leschyshyn: Elena is an Olympic gold medalist and two-time world champion, whom David Pelletier calls "one of the best pairs skaters in the last 50 years." She and partner Anton Sikharulidze shared a gold medal with David and Jamie Sale after a judging scandal at the 2002 Olympics. Curtis won a Stanley Cup with Colorado and was a third draft pick overall to the Quebec Nordiques. They are skating for the Children's Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan.

Tessa Bonhomme and David Pelletier: Of course Tessa is Battle of the Blades' first female hockey player. She scored the first goal for Team Canada at the 2007 world championships and was part of the gold medal-winning team at the Vancouver Olympics. David is a three-time Canadian pairs champion, a world champion and won Canada's first Olympic gold medal in pairs skating in 42 years at those '02 games. Tessa is skating for the CIBC Run for the Cure, Sudbury chapter, in honour of her grandmother, who beat breast cancer, and her friend Myra, who didn't. David is skating for Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Marie-France Dubreuil and Bryan Berard: Marie-France, a world silver medalist and five-time Canadian ice dance champion, skated in Season 1 of Blades. In 2000, while Bryan was playing with the Leafs, he nearly lost his eye after getting a high stick in the face. But after numerous surgeries he was able to play seven more seasons in the NHL, winning the Bill Masterdon Trophy for dedication to hockey. They are skating for the Do It for Daron program of the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health.

Marcy Hinzmann-Harris and Todd Simpson: Marcy competed in the Olympics and the Worlds, and later became an adagio skater. Todd was a defenceman and captain of the Calgary Flames. Marcy's playing for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and Todd for the YMCA's Y Strong Kids campaign.

Anabelle Langlois and Brad May: Anabelle is the Canadian pairs champion who did Blades in Season 2. Brad is a former Toronto Maple Leaf who won the Stanley Cup with Anaheim. He and Anabelle are skating for Autism Speaks.

Kim Navarro and Russ Courtnall: Kim is a U.S. ice dance bronze medalist. Russ is a former Maple Leaf who also played for Montreal, Dallas and Vancouver. He partnered with Christine Hough-Sweeney last season. He and Kim are skating for Wade's charity, the Tourette's Syndrome Neurodevelopmental Clinic at Toronto Western Hospital, chosen because one of Wade's daughters has Tourette's.

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