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Les Pionniers: the highest level of professional hockey in Chamonix

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Les Pionniers: the highest level of professional hockey in Chamonix

Les Pionniers: the highest level of professional hockey in Chamonix

Les Pionniers, Chamonix’s professional hockey team, have been buzzing in the valley for more than 110 years! Chamonix Sotheby’s International Realty relives its exciting and eventful history, made up of dreams, disappointment, difficult periods and beautiful victories.

Les Pionniers de Chamonix: more than 110 years of history!

It all started with the first natural ice rink in Chamonix set up on the banks of the Arve by Jules and Joseph Couttet at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1909, the ice rink became public, and the hockey team was created on 24th December 1910, chaired by Jules Couttet.

They then had to wait a decade before the team became truly competitive, after having trained a first generation of players. They celebrated their first French Champions title in 1923 and Chamonix quickly became one of the hotspots for hockey in France.

Composed exclusively of athletes from the valley, the team dominated the championship until 1931 with no less than 6 championship titles. The Chamois de Chamonix – the professional team’s former name which is still used for the amateur team – took the lead in the late 1930s and in the post-war period.

From 1950 to the present day: the club’s big dates

During the 1950s, the club recorded 5 French champions titles. In parallel with these victories, this period saw the managers focussing on training a new generation of players, who proved themselves in the 1960s.

During this decade, no less than 7 titles were won, including 6 consecutive victories between 1963 and 1968, a record in the history of the French Championships! The following year, the neighbouring team of Saint-Gervais stopped the Chamois’ streak by winning their first title. The derby’s phase was launched and extended throughout all of the 1970s.

Chamonix’s hockey players were then crowned champions of France 6 times between 1971 and 1979, the year of their 30th title and - until today - the last crown in their history.

The 1980s were less prosperous for Chamonix, with the emergence of teams formed in several large towns with larger budgets. The Chamois - renamed the Huskies between 1988 and 2001 – often made it onto the podium but never on the winner’s step.

Despite the arrival of a new generation in the mid-1990s, the team fell onto the side-lines at the dawn of the 2000s, relegated to the 2nd Division for the 2001–2002 season. The team then had to wait until 2005 to get back into the Magnus League in which it still plays today.

The French Hockey Hall of Fame - created in 2008 by the Federation – welcomed the Chamonix club in its first year of creation in the “bâtisseurs" category. In 2016, the club merged with the Morzine-Avoriaz penguins for a single season, before regaining independence.

The next Pionniers matches

Renamed Les Pionniers in 2016, the professional team continues to play at the highest level, led by its charismatic captain Clément Masson and coached by Canadians Marc Lefèbvre and Scott Jacklin (assistant coach).

Here are the dates for the upcoming Pionniers de Chamonix matches:

  • 28th October 2022: Angers/Chamonix
  • 4th November 2022: Briançon/Chamonix
  • 15th November 2022: Chamonix/Amiens
  • 18th November 2022: Nice/Chamonix
  • 20th November 2022: Chamonix/Bordeaux
  • 22nd November 2022: Chamonix/Grenoble

Do you want to sell or acquire a prestigious property in the valley? The Chamonix Sotheby’s International Realty team offers 100% personalised support at every stage of your real estate project.

Source: Les Pionniers website.

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