Bienne won its last Swiss Champions title in 1983… approximately a year later, Mathieu Tschantré was born. Five years later Mister Tschantré started to play ice hockey in the youth of the club. Perhaps not many people thought, at that moment, that this Mister – with the capital M – could become a real legend for the club based in the Seeland.
Today instead, in 2020, we applaud one of the few real icons around. Mathieu Tschantré in fact, retired at the end of the 2019-20 season after a lifetime of playing only for one club. His favourite Club. EHC Biel-Bienne!
Mathieu Tschantré was never that kind of a player that make fans salivate because of spectacular play. He was always, however, that kind of a player that immediately becomes the fans favourite. That because his attitude was always top notch, because he always gave it the 100% – and even more – and always played with his heart. These are all characteristics that made him not only a very precious player but also a real star in Bienne!
Mathieu made his debut with the first team in 2000 when he was only 16 and the club was still in the NLB. He scored his first NLB goal on December 4th, 2001. On that occasion, the Seeländer earned a crazy 10-4 win against Ajoie thanks to the goals scored by Jean-Jacques Daigneault (hat-trick!), René Furler, Stefan Tscheimer, Andreas Nauser (hat-trick!), Ryan Savoia e… actually, Mathieu Tschantré, assisted by Ryan Savoia!
Now Ryan Savoia is a 46 years old former player who even had the honour of collecting 3 NHL appearances with the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 1998-99 season. He retired at the end of the 2008-09 season.
Mathieu Tschantré has obviously never played in the NHL. Yet we are certain that “his” NHL was Bienne. Mathieu helped the club win 4 NLB titles and at the fourth attempt the team finally got back where it belongs, that is in the NLA!
That promotion was such a party for the Seeländer. The final game was played on April 8th, 2008, at the Eisstadion of Bienne. The troops back then coached by Heinz Ehlers earned a 3-2 win against Basel and Mathieu scored the game winning goal!
That was certainly a special day for Mathieu Tschantré. The day when he finally crowned his dream of playing in the LNA and doing so with his team of the heart.
And so, while Ryan Savoia was playing his last season as a professional… Mathieu played his first one of 12 seasons in the top tier of Swiss hockey and even the first of 12 seasons as the Captain of the team!
Mathieu Tschantré proved immediately to have all it takes to play at the highest levels of Swiss hockey. It did not take him long even to score his first NLA career goal… that goal came on September 12th, 2008. On that day, the Seeländer played their fourth game of the season and earned a 4-2 road win against Zug. The newly-captain scored two goals while the other goals for the visitors were scored by Rico Fata and Thomas Nüssli.
That were the first two of the 99 goals that Mathieu Tschantré scored in the NLA. What about that for figures. Yet, such figures are not the most important thing. Right, because as said, Mathieu became a legend of the club mostly because he has always given everything – but everything – for HIS club.
He always put his heart and soul into each single shift, and we believe that the following video shows very well what Mathieu Tschantré was all about…
Spirit of self-sacrifice. Spirit of self-sacrifice. And again, spirit of self-sacrifice. And love for the jersey. All this, together with a talent that perhaps was not above average but was enough to stand up to all the best players who played in our country.
Mathieu Tschantré became a cult player in the Seeland. His heart is yellow and red but nevertheless he earned the respect throughout the whole country. Just like only great persons can do.
Unfortunately, viruses respect no one and the emergency that developed right on the eve of the 2020 playoffs prevented him from finishing his career “on ice” and maybe even from lifting what would have been a well deserved trophy of Swiss Champion.
The fans though, had time to wave him goodbye in style on February 22nd, 2020…
That was a very emotional moment, a tear-off. Both for the fans and for Mathieu Tschantré. It was even somehow a “simple” ceremony but represented very well the relation between this club and this player. A relation made of pure love.
Il Capitanno. Mathieu Tschatré eared this nickname not only because he had the “C” printed on his jersey for 12 seasons… he earned it mostly because he always gave everything, but everything both for this club and for this jersey.
And now, his jersey number “12” will join the jersey number “30” of Olivier Anken under the roof of the Tissot Arena. Rightly so. Because legends deserve this honour. And Mathieu, in Bienne, is a legend. It is as simple as that.
Thank you for everything, Capitano. Swiss hockey will be poorer!