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Stampeders mourn death of John Forzani

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

It is with great sadness that the Stampeders announce the passing of John Forzani. He was 67.

Forzani was a native Calgarian and a former Stampeders player who was part of a local group that purchased the club in 2005. The Calgary Flames became majority owners of the Stampeders in 2012 but Forzani retained a minority stake and was the team’s co-chair in 2013.

"John's passion for community and football were singularly essential in the revival of the Stamps’ important role in the community,” said Stampeders chairman Ken King. “It is one, among many, of his great legacies. I will miss him dearly.”

“This is a very sad day for the organization and we feel the weight of this great loss,” said Stampeders president Gordon Norrie. “There is absolutely no doubt the Stampeders are a better organization and team because of the efforts and dedication of John and his partners.

“On behalf of the entire organization, I extend my condolences to John’s wife Linda and his children Jodi and Michael.”

“I’m very saddened by John’s passing,” said Stampeders head coach and general manager John Hufnagel. “He was a teammate, a friend and a hunting buddy. John was very instrumental in my return to the Stampeders organization in 2008 and I’m very proud of what we were all able to build here together.”

As a player, Forzani played six seasons with the Red and White (1971-76) as an offensive lineman and was part of a great family legacy with the Stampeders. His brother Tom and Joe also played for the club and his nephew Johnny was with Calgary from 2010-12.

John Forzani was a graduate of Calgary’s St. Francis High School and he played college football at Utah State, where he earned a degree in business.

Forzani was founder and chairman of the board of The Forzani Group Ltd. (FGL). What began as a single sporting goods store became a national chain with more than 500 outlets. The company was sold to Canadian Tire in August of 2011.

Forzani was a strong advocate for the community and the Forzani Group raised millions of dollars for charitable causes. The Forzani Mother’s Day Run and Walk began in Calgary 37 years ago to raise funds for health programs, equipment and charities.

In 2000, he formed The Forzani Foundation, with a mandate to promote physical fitness, health and wellness.

Upon the arrival of the ownership group that included Forzani, the franchise’s fortunes immediately improved as the team went from 4-14 in 2004 to 11-7 in 2005 and Stamps have had a winning record in nine of 10 seasons.

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