Lesley Stewart has embraced her new role as Community Ambassador for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats Football Club, while standing down from the position of Head Coach, Cheerleaders.
Lesley is also one of the hosts on CHCH Television’s Morning Live. “We just celebrated our 17th anniversary on the morning show which is hard to believe—I feel like I just started there, but what a great time.”
Lesley lives in the greater Hamilton area, having grown up on Hamilton Mountain. “I was a dancer my whole life,” says Lesley. “So I did every form of dance you can imagine, from the age of four. Ballet, Jazz and Tap, Highland, and Irish.”
When she was 13, Lesley tried out for her high school cheerleading team at Hill Park Secondary, and from there started coming to Tiger-Cat games.
Oskee Wee Wee!
“I remember sitting in the stands with my brother and his friends and saying ‘I want to be a Ti-Cat Cheerleader one day’. Sure enough, when I was 18 I tried out, and I made it.”
At the same time, Lesley studied broadcast journalism for radio and television at Mohawk College. While from a young age Lesley had dreamed of becoming a veterinarian, this changed during high school.
“I was so in this big dance world, out on stage, and was starting to feel like I had more of a presence that way,” says Lesley. One day she spoke with her guidance counselor, and he suggested she pursue journalism because she is a good writer, and can speak in front of a crowd. “It was a perfect outlet for me.”
When she finished college, Lesley got a job at Oldies 1150, where she worked with Jason Farr, who encouraged her to go live with her reporting at festivals. While she resisted at first, Lesley was soon hooked on the energy of the live broadcasts.
After a couple of years, Lesley had traded in her Ti-Cat uniform. “I started coaching while I was with the Toronto Argonauts (cheer team), and then the Ti-Cats said come home,” says Lesley. “They asked me a couple of times and finally it just made sense to come home in 2005.”
Lesley returned to the Tiger-Cats Cheerleaders as head coach. The grueling schedule included 60 practices a year, with the dance regimen starting in March, and auditions running from April.
“I just was living and breathing it for all these years,” Lesley says. “It’s a lot of work but I loved it so much it didn’t feel like work.”
As Community Ambassador, Lesley will be game day sideline host interviewing alumni, players, and coaches. She will host fan events, and be a partner in community initiatives including the More than a Bystander program.
Lesley will also be radio podcast host with TSN 1150 Radio, the station where she got her start in broadcasting—CKOC 1150 has since changed its format from oldies, to all sports.
Health & Wellness
Lesley has an exercise routine that includes a combination of cardio and weights, yoga, and barre classes. “Barre is based on the original ballet regime and they turn that into a fitness class so you can still hang on to your dancer’s body because it’s so intense.”
Lesley’s goal is to host her own health and wellness show.
She is always striving to achieve balance in her life, and making sure she spends enough time with friends and family, and particularly her 9-year-old-son Jack.
“He’s obviously the most important.” She got him into football, and he plays flag and tackle and loves the Tiger-Cats.
Lesley celebrates 25 years with the Canadian Football League this March.
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The Hamilton Tiger-Cats Football Club
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