Hockey players are good guys. Team players, competitors who are down to earth athletes. That’s what the folks for the award winning reality show “The Amazing Race” must have been thinking when they wanted a hockey player for their most recent season. During the recruitment process, they had reached out to Carolina Hurricanes PR Mike Sundheim, who happened to be a fan of the show, inquiring about a player who would be a good fit. Bates Battaglia immediately came to mind.
Battaglia played 580 games in the NHL for the Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs, Colorado Avalanche and Washington Capitals while scoring 198 points during that period. In the 2002, the Canes made it to finals losing to the Detroit Red Wings. Battaglia had success on the BBC line with Rod Brind’Amour and Eric Cole.
After playing in Europe for the 2011-12 season, Battaglia received a call in May from Sundheim about the opportunity. The application process began including videos and eventually flying them to LA for an interview. Brother Anthony was the perfect travelling partner for Bates.
The race started on November 8, 2012 and the Battaglia’s found out just before that date that they had made the cut.” We prepared just like we would in hockey,” Battaglia commented. “We watched as much video as we could, looking for little tricks or any advantage, kind of like preparing to win a faceoff. We also noted that there were different personalities among the teams and we wanted to be the good guys, so we helped others when we could and that strategy seemed to pay off.”
“I think another thing that helped Anthony and I was experiencing the typical grind of a hockey season. Making the West Coast trip is not always easy, so travelling for a month with limited breaks was an advantage for us against others. I lost twenty pounds during the trip and Anthony lost fifteen. It seemed like we were always on the go, Battaglia recalls.
The race finished on December 8th with Bates and Anthony winning the $1 million prize against the ten other teams. The second challenge was not being able to tell anybody. The airing of the show began in February of 2013 and the show’s finale aired the second week of May. They had a million reasons not to tell anybody.
“It was difficult. I’m co-owner of Lucky B’s, a bar in Raleigh that I’ve owned for 8 years. Each week we would show an episode, but couldn’t say anything. We had a big party for the finale.”
Now that the show is over, they’ve had requests from other reality shows. “I’ve spoken with the folks at the Battle of the Blades and another show that focuses on golf. The Amazing Race was a great experience and we’ll see what happens from here.”