Eight pairs of competitors have been announced for the sixth season of Canadian figure skating reality TV show “Battle of the Blades,” which premieres Oct. 15. To refresh, this is the show in which hockey players team up with experienced figure skaters and compete to win prize money for their chosen charities.
CBC announced in a press release that the show is making diversity a major priority for the season, with four Black athletes, one Black judge, and — for the first time in the show’s history — three female hockey players participating.
Of course that last bit is why I’m watching, mostly. So who are the women’s hockey players? Let’s meet them...
Meghan Agosta, a four-time Olympic medalist for Team Canada who played for the CWHL’s Montreal team, then called the Montreal Stars, is paired with Andrew Poje. They’ll both skate for BC Children’s Hospital.
(Would anyone like to bet how long before the obligatory “Constable Agosta”s begin? I suspect it will be mentioned within the first two sentences of her episode-one introduction...)
Jennifer Botterill, a four-time Olympic medalist for Team Canada and a member of the Women’s Beanpot Hall of Fame, will skate with Eric Radford. As a pair, they will skate for The Canadian Cancer Society.
Jessica Campbell, who played for the Calgary Inferno of the CWHL and won a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2014 4 Nations Cup, is skating with Asher Hill. Campbell will skate for Do It For Daron (DIFD) and Hill will skate for Black Legal Action Centre.
Last season’s runner-up, Natalie Spooner, will serve as one of the regular judges. (!!!)
The lineup includes several other intriguing competitors, including Akim Aliu, who founded (and will be competing on behalf of) the Time to Dream Foundation. Pairs have begun socially distanced training, and episodes will be taped at the CAA Centre in Brampton, Ont., with a virtual audience.