The big news from CBC for season No. 3 of its "Battle Of The Blades" figure-skaters-meet-hockey-lunkheads competition is that not all the puck players will be lunkheads this time:
Tessa Bonhomme, gold medal winner for the Canadian women's hockey team in the Vancouver Winter Games, joins the cast. She'll skate with Olympic pairs gold medalist David Pelletier, giving producers a way to pair up someone with David Pelletier and not make it all kinds of awkward.
Ah, but that's not the most important news about "BotB3."
What is? The fact that Wade Belak, ham-fisted NHL cult icon, will be figure skating next season. Or as the CBC press release put it:
Wade Belak, the legendary brawler who scored memorable goals against the likes of Martin Brodeur, Robert Luongo and Chris Mason, played for the Calgary Flames (1999-2001) and the Toronto Maple Leafs (2001-2008) in addition to stints with Colorado, Nashville and the Florida Panthers.
We can't figure out if that first line is CBC being in on the joke about Wade Belak or making one at the expense of Chris Mason …
Belak follows in the grand tradition of pugilists who show up on "Battle of the Blades," having participating in 115 NHL fights according to HockeyFights.com. But the real appeal of Belak was his offense … or lack thereof.
Eight goals in 549 NHL games, and celebrations like this when he'd break through:
The rest of the cast for "BotB," who will hide in the mighty shadow of BELAK (and Bonhomme):
Bryan Berard, who played for six NHL teams including the Toronto Maple Leafs and will no doubt be the source for many a maudlin look back at his eye injury and comeback. Perhaps even a skating routine themed to it. We suggest "Nearly Lost You" by Screaming Trees.
Brad May, who played for three NHL teams including the Toronto Maple Leafs, and who hopefully will skate to Deadmaus remix of Rick Jeanneret screaming "MAY DAY!" back in 1993.
Boyd Devereaux, who played for four NHL teams including the Toronto Maple Leafs and won the Stanley Cup in 2002 with the Detroit Red Wings. Surely you remember his contributions.
Curtis Leschyshyn, who won a Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 1996 and somehow made this list despite never playing with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Cale Hulse, who played for New Jersey, Calgary, Nashville, Phoenix and Columbus before leaving the NHL prior to playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He brings dedication, devotion and (god-willing) his wife Gina Lee Nolin to the competition.
The third season of this show kicks off on Sunday, September 18 at 8 p.m. Eight weeks later, Wade Belak will be crowned the winner.