“He knew how to draw a line. When it was game day, you put your game face on and you competed against each other.” – John Forzani

The late John Forzani wore many hats, or helmets, if we are considering his football career with the Calgary Stampeders. The offensive lineman-turned-businessman’s empire began as locker room talk, when he and brothers Joe and Tom, along with teammate Basil Bark, complained about the inability to find quality footwear for games and practices. The story begins in 1974, with a single store investment of $9,500 and $214,000 annual sales revenue within the first year. In 2002, the year Forzani was awarded Alberta Venture’s Business Person of the Year, the Forzani Group operated more than 200 corporate stores including Sport Chek, Forzani’s, Sport Mart and Coast Mountain Sports. “We went nose to nose, but we respected what John did,” says Running Room founder – and prime competitor – John Stanton. “Through his game plan that he put together and his skill and courage, he grew the company dramatically.” Words like “game plan,” “team player,” and “competitor” are often used to describe the work ethic of Forzani as he carried the attributes that made him a successful athlete into the business world. “He knew how to draw a line. When it was game day, you put your game face on and you competed against each other,” Stanton says. “But he also knew the value of community and the value of teamwork and instilled that in his people who worked for him.” Forzani’s strong ties to his community led him to be a true philanthropist over the years, founding the Forzani’s Mother’s Day Run and Walk and the Forzani Group Foundation. Stanton says Forzani, who died October 31, 2014, is missed as a business leader in Alberta, but even more so as a community leader. “The Forzani Foundation has done an immense amount of work in Alberta to help support charities and it was John’s tenacity, vision and commitment that allowed it to grow.” For Albertans, Forzani is remembered as a skilled athlete, savvy business mogul, community leader and family man. For Stanton, Forzani will be remembered for his larger-than-life personality, his “boisterous laugh that was infectious” and the way he “made everyone feel important.”

The Year that Was 2002

Alberta’s Population 3 million

The merger between PanCanadian and Alberta Energy Company is finalized creating the energy giant, EnCana Corporation

Record-breaking housing booms have builders struggling to keep up. Edmonton leads the way with an annual 58.6 percent increase over the first nine months of 2002