Forzani Brothers & Basil Bark – 2016

Forzani Brothers & Basil Bark – 2016

Joe Forzani, John Forzani, Tom Forzani & Basil Bark

Football Athletes, Calgary

2016 Achievement Award


Joe, John and Tom Forzani, and Basil Bark became team mates, friends and long-time business partners in the early 1970s.  Joe joined the Calgary Stampeders in 1968, John in 1971, and Tom followed in 1972.  From 1968 to 1984, there was a Forzani on the Stampeders’ roster.  Basil joined the team in 1970.  Joe, John and Basil Bark led the team to a Grey Cup victory in 1971, ending the 23 year stretch since the team had last won the cup.  Tom ranks third in Stampeders categories with 553 receptions and 8,285 yards receiving.  His #22 jersey was retired in 1984.


The Globe and Mail, in a 2012 article, referred to the Forzani’s as the “First Family of Football.” Others know them as "The Forzani Brothers." They made a lasting impact on the Calgary Stampeders organization as players, and then John, as a minority owner. Their contributions to the city of Calgary, both on and off the field, made the brothers truly “three-of-a-kind.”  “Individually, they had different personalities, levels of talent, with a common thread of the discipline and desire it took to succeed both on and off the playing field.”


Joe, John and Tom were born and brought up in Calgary.  All three brothers were outstanding high school athletes and went to Utah State University on athletic scholarships, where they set a number of records and earned numerous awards and honours.  While they had offers to play in the NFL, the brothers individually decided to return to Calgary and play for their hometown Stampeders.  Joe was an outstanding linebacker and a CFL All-Star in 1976. John was an offensive lineman. Tom, a receiver, had the most individual success during his 11 seasons with the Stampeders and is fourth all-time with 62 touchdowns.  He was a three-time Western All-Star in 1973, 1974 and 1977 and an All-Canadian in 1977.  Tom was inducted onto the Stampeders Wall of Fame in 1994 and named to their All-Time Dream Team in 1996.


Basil Bark played five seasons with the Montreal Alouettes and was traded to the Calgary Stampeders prior to the 1970 season.  He helped lead the Stampeders to Grey Cup games in 1970 and then to victory in 1971. He was their team captain from 1972 to 1977.  Basil played in over 200 professional football games during his career.  He was named an Eastern all-star in 1968 and 1969, and a Western all-star in 1970 and 1973.  In 1996, he was voted to the Stampeders All-Time Dream Team at the Centre position.  Basil made his home in Calgary after his football career was finished.


In 1974, John opened Forzani's Locker Room sporting goods store.  His brothers and Basil joined him and the business grew into a sporting goods empire that eventually encompassed more than 500 locations and 12,000 employees.  As partners and friends, John and Basil were inseparable as they made key decisions for the next 30 years.  John also started the Forzani Group Foundation and ran it until he passed away in 2014.  The foundation helped countless charities, groups, and individuals throughout the years in Calgary, the surrounding community, and in Alberta.