'The Amazing Race' contestant and Huntsville Havoc player Anthony Battaglia talks CBS show, hockey
By Matt Wake
Huntsville Havoc player Anthony Battaglia is shown in a scene from the CBS reality TV show "The Amazing Race." (Contributed by CBS Broadcasting Inc.)
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- If Anthony Battaglia and brother Bates Battaglia beat the other 10 teams competing in the 22nd installment of "The Amazing Race" to win the $1 million prize, he plans to purchase some new teeth.
"I'm missing a few you know?" Anthony says. He's a 33-year-old forward with the Huntsville Havoc minor league hockey team. "But I've car and credit card bills and would also probably pay off some of those. We'll see what happens."
On a recent afternoon, Anthony, a Raleigh, N.C. native, is at his Huntsville apartment following a morning Havoc practice and film session and trip to the gym when a CBS publicist connects us via phone.
The upcoming season of ďThe Amazing RaceĒ has another Alabama connection: It also features Chuck and Wynona McCall, a husband-and-wife team from Daphne, Alabama. The 22nd "Amazing Race" premiere airs 7 p.m. Feb. 17 locally on WHNT-TV. This season's race around the world will span 30,000 miles across nine countries and five continents in about 25 days. Other teams include doctors, roller derby moms, YouTube channel hosts, the descendants of actor John Wayne and explorer Daniel Boone and members of the country band Stealing Angels.
Contests are not allowed to bring a cellphone, iPod, computer or even their own money on "Amazing Race." "You just have to go in with a backpack full of clothes and a toothbrush and see if we can make it around the world," Anthony says.
Anthony, do you feel your hockey training and experience travelling as a professional athlete helped you on the "Amazing Race"?
I've traveled, played over in Europe and stuff so I think that might help me with travelling and dealing with foreign people. But just being in shape and having that competitive nature as well, I think that will help me with the race, the never-give-up aspect. My brother's a professional athlete, too.
[Writer's note: Bates, 37, is a former NHL player, including stints with the Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs.]
Tasks for this "Amazing Race" include skydiving above Bora Bora and hunting scorpions with Botswana Bushmen. What scares you more, scorpions or skydiving?
Well...Going into it, being a fan I've watched a lot of old episodes and seeing some of the things they've done with heights and animals and stuff, and I've thought I would be able to deal with it and I think my brother would be the same way.
Besides watch old episodes, how did you prepare for "The Amazing Race"?
The main thing was watching old episodes and learning the feel. But this summer my brother and I went through our hockey routine five days a week. Hitting the weight room every morning, skating, getting the cardio going. We ran a lot. Watching the old episodes, they're always running everywhere.
What's dealing with a non-disclosure agreement like?
Going through the incredible experience I went through and not tell anybody was tough. Finally when they released the cast a couple weeks ago, it was cool to be like, "Hey, I'm on the show." Then, they're like, "Hey, how was it? What happened?" And then you go, "I can't talk about it again." It's a little bittersweet.
Any other competition shows besides "The Amazing Race" you like to watch?
There's some cooking shows like "Top Chef" and "MasterChef." I do like a good cooking show.
What's a skill you have more of than your brother that you brought to the table for "The Amazing Race," and a skill Bates has more than you?
Well, I think I'm a little more cool-headed than him. If something went wrong, he might get a little more loud and lose his marbles a little bit. But at the same time, I might get down on myself a little bit and he always tries to keep me positive and keep me going.
There's a new twist on this "Amazing Race," two Express Passes. On a scale of one to 10, who much did those passes affect the race?
[At this point, the CBS publicist who connected us says, 'You know what Matt, unfortunately he can't answer that question at this time." So we moved on.]
OK. Anthony, what's your least favorite way to travel?
Watching old episodes, a lot of the old teams had problems with the cab drivers and the language barrier. So going into it, my brother and I were definitely not looking forward to that.
Bring any good luck charms with you while competing on "The Amazing Race"?
My brother actually brought a St. Christopher's pin for safe travels. That's about it.
How did the filming of the show impact your hockey?
Yeah, actually I didn't play the first half of the season, which was weird for me. I'm used to going back around October. I had to sit at home, fit in training when I could and make up excuses as to why I wasn't playing. I started playing in December.
And did your experience on "The Amazing Race" change the way you approach hockey at all?
I don't think it changed the way I play hockey. It may have changed me a little bit in the dressing room. I used to be maybe a quiet guy a little bit. Just being on "The Race" and in front of a camera gave me a little more confidence to help other players in the dressing room with situations that may have happened on the ice. I've always been kind of a leader but quiet but this may have helped me speak out a little more and try to help out as much as I can. http://www.al.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2013/02/the_amazing_race_contestant_an.html