CBC’s Battle of the Blades finale to be hosted at the MAC

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By Chris Sanders

On Thursday, three pairs of skaters will go head-to-head in the season five finale of the CBC’s reality show Battle of the Blades (BOTB) at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.

After seven weeks of figure skating recitals that saw four groups eliminated, one hockey player and figure skater pairing—dictated by fan voting—will split a $100,000 grand prize that will go towards a charity of the skaters’ choosing.

The remaining pairs include:

Former New York Islanders defenseman Bruno Gervais and Olympic figure skating gold medalist Ekaterina Gordeeva.

Olympic figure skater Kaitlyn Weaver and eight-year National Hockey League (NHL) winger Sheldon Kennedy.

Former Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) All-Star Natalie Spooner and decorated figure skater Andrew Poje.

Spooner is the first woman in history to win the CWHL’s Clarkson Cup and an Olympic gold medal in the same season. She is hoping to donate $50,000 to the Fast and Female charity, whose mission is to keep girls healthy and active through sports.

“If you think about Fast and Female, it’s quite a small charity and the work that they’re doing for young girls around North America is astounding,” said Spooner. “I didn’t really realize it was a dream [of mine] to play women’s hockey until I got to meet Jennifer Botterill.”

Botterill was also a CWHL All-Star who won three Olympic gold medals during her career.

“That’s what Fast and Female can do for these girls; really put role models in front of them…[The money] would help so many girls to stay in sports and try new sports.”

The panel scoring the competition is head judge Kurt Browning, former NHLer Colby Armstrong along with the most decorated figure skating pair of all-time Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.

After suffering from a hamstring injury while training for BOTB, Armstrong was forced to step away from the competition. Armstrong later joined on as a BOTB judge because of the show’s support towards charities intertwined with Canada’s passion for hockey and skating. 

“My kids made me want to do it and the charity aspect of it, I think that’s pretty awesome that they do that,” said Armstrong, adding that he stepped out of his comfort zone to set an example for his kids. 

“I think [all the participants have] their own reason and story, and show a lot of courage in doing this; putting themselves out there and trying something new. I think it’s a good message for everybody,” said Armstrong.

It’s a show Armstrong recommends everyone should watch.

“It’s a really fun, cool show to be apart of. There’s lots of great stories from these skaters as well all mixed inside of it with some really entertaining performances.” 

“To be in the rink, if you’re going to come and watch live at the show and to feel emotionally connected with some of the stories and skaters, it’s amazing.”

Currently, all seating for the event is sold out but more tickets may become available.

The winning pair will be announced in this week’s season finale, airing live on ​Thursday, Oct. 31 at 8 p.m. (9 AT, 9:30 NT) on CBC and the free ​CBC Gem​ streaming service.

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