Manchester Storm announced another new player to their line up for the 2016/17 season, with the signature of 24-year old Left Winger Matt Bissonnette from Chamois de Chamonix Hockey club in France. The Beaconsfield, Quebec native joins the Storm after a career that has saw his career needing to be re-ignited after most of his career has be played out of one of the three major junior hockey leagues in Canada, in the QMJHL (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League).
The past two seasons have saw Bissonnette playing his hockey in France at Chamois de Chamonix in the French Ligue Magnus and is a team to who player-coach Omar Pacha knows well, after he spent a year there prior to coming to the UK a few seasons ago. In 76 games for Chamonix in both League and Cup, he posted 25 goals and 57 assists during his time there, and will no doubt want to improve with the help of a fellow Montreal native at the helm.
His career though as mentioned previously, saw him starting off at the Moncton Wildcats and also saw him representing a Canada Quebec-U17 side at the World Hockey Championships in the 2008-09 season, where upon he collected a 2 goals and 1 assist in 5 games. The following season saw him starting off at Moncton before playing a single game for the Chicoutimi Sagueneens and then finally onto the the Lewiston MAINEiacs.
While at Lewiston, he recorded his best numbers at that point in time of his career, with 24 goals and 49 assists over 89 games for the MAINEiacs. He then moved to Acadie-Bathhurst Titan and saw his numbers really beginning to picking up, after registering 83 points in 65 regular season games for the Titan with 36 goals and 47 coming by way of assists. In the playoffs he netted 2 goals and 6 assists in 6 post-season games, but the following year saw him making only 52 appearances for the season and still managed to post 17 goals and 46 assists. Bissonnette then travelled to Europe in 2014/15 to play in France, and now sees his next chapter at the Storm Shelter in the Elite League with Manchester.
Speaking to Seth Bennett via Elite Media, he spoke about his joy of coming to Manchester saying, ” I was pretty excited to get a deal done this late in the summer, as looking for jobs is pretty tough and when you get a city like Manchester you can only think positive things and I’m pretty excited.”
Speaking about leaving Canada for Europe and looking to ahead to the UK he said, “From there (QMJHL) I ended up moving to France, to where a friend was playing and he managed to get me onto that team. I built a pretty good relationship with the coach and the city, and ended up spending another year there last year. This year I’m jumping to Manchester, so it’s a different league, but you know what, I am just going with the flow and look forward to a new opportunity and challenge in England and pretty excited.”
With the Storm announcing the signing of his friend Mario Trabucco earlier in the week, he commented on finally being teammates with his friend and previous conversations between the two, “Yeah Super Mario! I’m pretty excited as the last 3 to 4 years we have been training partners in the summer and always joked about having the opportunity to play together, but just never happened. Then last week I found out that he had talked to Pasha (Omar Pacha) and so i called pretty quick and after I heard Mario had signed, it was a no-brainer for me to go there as well and play under the coach.”
Finally he mentioned that he was looking forward to coming to Manchester, after being briefed on the city by a Mancunian that he he knew while in France, “I’m super excited, actually I had a family over in Chamonix that I was close with and the dad was from Manchester. And he told me how nice the City was and how friendly the people were and that you’ll love it there.”
Omar Pacha commented on the signing of his recruit saying, “Matt is someone who has been on my radar for a while now. He has size, great vision, and is renowned for his excellent passing ability. He is also close friends of recent Storm recruit, Mario Trabucco, and i know they are both delighted to be playing alongside each other this upcoming season. Mario spoke really highly of Matt, and from all the scouting reports i have done on him, I know we are getting a very talented hockey player & a highly committed individual who is still young & hungry to take his game to another level.”
Storm GM Neil Russell, spoke highly of Bissonnette himself adding, “Matt is someone i know Pach has been really keen to bring to the Storm ahead of this upcoming season. Numerous things stood out to us about him, from his junior career in Quebec, his progression into the pro ranks, his size, and the outstanding reports we received on his vision and passing ability. Matt is still young, has really good pedigree, so I am convinced if he comes in here with the work ethic & hunger to succeed that we know he possesses, he could use us to springboard his career into higher leagues in Europe potentially in the future.”