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Battle of the Blades is back on home ice, but with a Ryerson twist.
Ryerson’s varsity figure skating team is joining forces with the men’s and women’s hockey teams to compete in the Battle of the Rams.
“It’s kind of historical and bringing the teams together makes it more of a collaborative event, which is nice for the school to see,” said Lauren Hildebrand, captain of the figure skating team and organizer of the event.
The first season of Battle of the Blades, a CBC show pairing figure skaters with hockey players to compete in a figure skating competition, was filmed at Maple Leaf Gardens. The show had to be filmed at a different location for the three following seasons since construction started at Maple Leaf Gardens in December 2009 to create the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
Hildebrand put a call out to the teams this past September since the event hasn’t happened in past years due to time constraints.
She recruited Mitch Gallant, a forward for the men’s hockey team, to help her convince his teammates.
“Most of the guys out here now just jumped right on, but it took a couple of them a little convincing,” Gallant said.
Originally, two women’s hockey players had wanted to participate, but one had to drop out due to a hip injury. For that reason, Emma Rutherford will be the only female hockey player in the competition.
“We started off with skills to see what the levels were and what we could do, but right away we were so surprised with how quickly they pick(ed) up steps,” said Tara Bartolini, an assistant coach for the Ryerson figure skating team.
Bartolini, along with fellow assistant coach Lauren Wilson and Canadian figure skater Adriana DeSanctis are choreographing the routines. Each coach has three to four teams that they work with weekly.
The 10 teams were selected based on height and skating style and the routines were choreographed to match their personalities.
Each two-minute routine has to include a footwork sequence, a lift, a field move and two creative moves.
“Both the figure skaters and hockey players are totally out of their elements … a lot of the figure skaters haven’t done paired skating before,” Bartolini said.
Although the teams have been meeting since October, they have only been practising their finalized routines over the past month.
“It’s been fun, it’s been difficult … I’m not used to thinking about my footwork when I skate but I’m learning,” Gallant said.
A portion of the proceeds will go to Skate to Great, a charity that provides new hockey and figure skates, along with equipment, to children. The rest of the funds raised will go to the figure skating team.
“Hopefully we can raise a bunch of money and have some fun while we do it,” Gallant said.
The Battle of the Rams charity competition is scheduled for March 24 at 7 p.m.