Canadian Retailer Eric Bezanson Elected to 2021 Sporting Goods Hall of Fame

Building an impressive retail footprint in Canada cemented Eric Bezanson’s selection to the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame Class of 2021.

Bezanson, the owner of Cleve’s Source for Sports stores in Canada’s Maritime provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, will join more than 170 retailers, team dealers, manufacturers and industry influencers who have been honored with induction into the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame since it was established by the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) in 1955. The selection of Bezanson was made by the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame Committee at its annual meeting in May, which was held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Eric Bezanson has made a tremendous impact on the sporting goods retail landscape in Canada,” says Hall of Fame Committee chairman Ken Meehan, executive advisor to the CEO of Dunham’s Sports. “I am very excited to welcome Eric to the Hall of Fame and we look forward to seeing him honored at next May’s induction ceremony.”

The Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame dinner and induction is scheduled to be held May 18, 2021, at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, FL, the site of the 2021 NSGA Management Conference & Team Dealer Summit. Details on attending this event will be announced soon.

Bezanson bought Cleve’s Sporting Goods in 1972 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Cleve’s Source For Sports has grown to 18 retail locations, two team/institutional locations and a seasonal ski hill in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The thousands of employees who have worked for Bezanson and Cleve’s include his wife Anne and his three sons. Kevin is the president and also serves on the NSGA Board of Directors, Peter is a buyer and Gregory operates a cresting business on the team/institutional side.

Bezanson played a big role in the growth of Sports Distributors of Canada (SDC) to more than 150 independently owned stores across Canada. He served on the SDC Board of Directors from 1989-95. Bezanson was also on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Sporting Goods Association (CSGA) from 1979-89 and he received the CSGA Award of Merit in 1989.

Supporting local sports organizations and working with brands to make sure both sides benefit is instrumental to Cleve’s success. Bezanson has been recognized for outstanding contributions by the Maritime Sporting Goods Association, as the Atlantic Canada Entrepreneur of the Year in retail and as the Snowsports Industry Association (SIA) Canadian Retailer of the Year.

Bezanson joins retired SDC president Randy Hooper (2012), John Forzani of The Forzani Group (2010) and Jack Cooper of Cooper International, Inc., (1979) as Canadian members of the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame.

The members of the Hall of Fame Class of 2020 – Peter Capolino (Mitchell & Ness Nostalgia Company), Robert Greenberg (Skechers) and Klaus Obermeyer (Sport Obermeyer) – will also be part of the 2021 induction ceremony. Their ceremony scheduled for May was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2022 induction class. The deadline for nominations is February 19, 2021. Download a nomination form at www.nsga.org/halloffame or request a nomination packet at HOF@nsga.org. Questions should be directed to Hall of Fame Committee Secretary Julie Pitts, jpitts@nsga.org.