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‘Blades’ skates to new location
When Battle of the Blades returns to CBC this fall, the skating will take place on a sound stage in Toronto, rather than historic Maple Leaf Gardens.
The Gardens has been sold and is undergoing renovations, so it wasnít available for season No. 2 of the highly rated Battle of the Blades. The series pairs female figure skaters with ex-hockey players in a figure skating competition.
ìThe Gardens was part of the charm and will be missed, but it served its purpose,î host and former figure skating champion Kurt Browning said.
ìCertain things about it will not be missed. It was decrepit and it was cold and there were no bathrooms. But it was a gift to be able to start our journey there. Theyíre bringing the set, so it will look the same.î
CBC general manager Kirstine Stewart sees a bright side in the move, while not closing the door on a return to the Gardens at some point.
ìWeíre going to get a little more control over the rink and the building by doing it this way (at the sound stage),î Stewart said. ìBut Iíve heard theyíre building a rink again on an upper floor of Maple Leaf Gardens, so if we go another year (with Battle of the Blades), maybe weíll go back.î
Hockey players participating in the second season include Russ Courtnall and Theo Fleury. Stewart, Browning and Courtnall were in attendance at the CBC fall launch event in Toronto on Thursday.