Blade runners

JOE WARMINGTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:11 AM ET

"The only figure skater I was scared of was Tonya Harding."

-- Former NHL tough guy Bob Probert

Poor Tonya Harding may soon lose her reigning title as figure skating's toughest competitor!

And legendary hockey pugilist Bob Probert may change his mind on which skater would give him a better fight.

Yes the Tie Domi-Bob Probert rematch on ice that everybody has been waiting for is going to happen.

On figure skates?

You read it right. It's going to be happening this fall on the CBC in a neat new reality show called Battle of the Blades.

Tie Domi and Bob Probert in tights and doing twirls? The last time these two danced together, it was the talk of the hockey world.

This time, they are going to have a couple of ladies helping them settle the score as they attempt to learn on ice pair routines in competition to help raise $250,000 for charity.

What in the world is Don Cherry going to say?

"We are not going to tell him," laughs Probert last night upon news he and seven other former NHLers have signed on to do the new show with eight top-flight female figure skaters.

"Wearing those fancy skating outfits can't be any more wild than Don's suits," insists Probert.

What a genius idea for a show, which will air live in October followed by fan voting. It will be hosted by Hockey Night in Canada's Ron MacLean and co-hosted by former four-time World Champion Kurt Browning.

There will also be four celebrity judges, still being cast, and some very interesting exchanges between participants. How will Probert react to a Simon Cowell-type barb?

"I'd probably deck him," teases Probert.

There's no punching in figure skating? But there has never been a heavyweight division before either!

The rules might change when you add to the sport two of the toughest-ever fighters to lace up skates.

Hockey skates. We'll see how tough they are in figure skates.

"Will they at least paint them black?" asks Probert.

Move over the United States' Dancing with the Stars -- this is Canada's answer to your successful show! Other greats to sign on are Hall of Famers' Lanny McDonald and Glenn Anderson and Hockey Night in Canada analyst and former 50-goal scorer Craig Simpson and two-time Stanley Cup-winner Stephane Richer.

It should be interesting to see how hockey fans react.

"Wow," says Rob Del Mundo of TMLFans.ca and Fischler Report. "I was hoping that the next time they met, it would be like "Thriller in Manila." Somehow double-axel and triple-lutz is sacrilegious!"

But he will watch. And keep an open mind. It's supposed to be something different and will be fascinating television.

The female skating partners have not been finalized but word last night was Olympic and World champion pairs gold medallist Jamie Sale is in.

"It doesn't get any more Canadian than this," says the show's co-creator Kevin Albrecht, who is teamed up with successful Canadian Idol producer John Brunton as well as Sandra Bezic and Barbara Bowlby to produce the Insight Productions show with CBC Television. "This is combining some of the best hockey players with the best skaters, coaches and choreographers. It's going to be interesting."

It will be. The idea crystalized for Albrecht during last year's Dancing With the Stars when he saw the success of football players in the competition like Emmitt Smith and Jason Taylor. "I saw that big guys could move and I was thinking, wonder how this would go on skates?"

Certainly for Probert the competitive juices are already flowing and he can't wait to get at it -- and more specifically at his old nemesis Domi, who had 3,500 penalty minutes in 16 NHL seasons.

"I figure this is my last chance to get him," jokes Probert, who says a triple lutz ought to take care of Domi.

Figure skating hasn't seen this kind of testosterone since the days of Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan. It's going to be fun and I'll bet even Don Cherry will be watching.

Perhaps Tie Domi will partner up with Canadian skater Jamie Sale on CBC's new reality show Battle of the Blades.


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