What an incredible journey the Cheer Sport Sharks has been for co-founders Ali Moffatt & Alana Potter! It all started over 10 years ago, with a dream, a vision, and most importantly, a passion for coaching & for the sport of competitive cheerleading. In the beginning, never did we dream that it would become what it is today.
Ali and Alana met in elementary school, and became friends in 1995 when they both cheered at their high school in Oakville, T.A. Blakelock. Both began coaching the Pilgrim Wood Dolphins elementary school team at the age of 15, and have been coaching cheerleading ever since. Their partnership is based on a strong friendship, and a love for coaching.
It Starts with a Dream…
The Cheer Sport Sharks was born in 2003, when Ali & Alana (A&A) joined forces, and relocated to Cambridge, Ontario. Prior to 2003, A&A were both coaching cheerleading in schools, and running community clubs for competitive cheerleading in the cities where they attended university (Ali at WLU & Alana at UofG). At this time, both teams trained out of a local church basement, and were called the Waterloo Rays & the Guelph Stars. When the girls graduated from University they decided that it was time to combine their efforts, and start coaching together.
In the first year of the Cheer Sport Sharks, we were thrilled to have 35 athletes training on three teams, once a week at the Cambridge Kips Gymnastics Club. Every Sunday night, the Sharks would take over the gym club for a few hours, and quickly experienced growth. Unfortunately, the Kips could not accommodate this growth, and we knew that it was in the best interest of our program to take the plunge, and lease our very OWN gym. It was small (3000 sq ft), but we LOVED it. We were in our first gym for 2 years, where we grew to 250 athletes, and knew that once again, it was time to move. In 2007 we moved into our next gym, known as the ‘Tank’. It was 6200 sq ft, and included a fully sprung floor and a tumble track. More importantly, it allowed us to offer more teams, and more opportunities for the hundreds of girls in our program. Cheer Sport continued to expand by offering programs in other cities, including the Stingrays in Guelph & the Seawaves in Ancaster. By 2010, the Sharks had outgrown the ‘Tank’, and opened a second cheerleading gym on the same street, known as the ‘Sea’ (3500 sq ft). The Tank & the Sea were busting at the seams, and A&A knew that in order for Cheer Sport to continue to grow and succeed, we needed a permanent home.
Then you Make it Real…
After looking for over 18 months for a new home that could accommodate our 30 teams and 550 athletes, it became clear that no building existed in Cambridge. Our only option was to purchase land from the City of Cambridge, go through the re-zoning process, and begin to custom design our perfect cheerleading gym. The newly constructed Shark Tank is 18,000 sq ft, and is Canada’s largest, free standing cheerleading gym. It’s the perfect place for our athletes to work hard, together, to make their dreams real, just as A&A have for years.