The origins of the ice hockey in Yugoslavia date back to the early 20th century. The first team -- HASK (Croatian Academic Sports Club) -- was founded in Zagreb in 1906. The first official hockey games in Yugoslavia were not played until 1916-17 when HASK and another Zagreb club (I.HSK) played a two-game series. HASK won the first game 2-0, while I.HSK won the second 6-0. In 1921, the Yugoslav Winter Sports Union was created in Ljubljana. In 1930, the Savez Hokeja na Ledu Jugoslavije (Yugoslav Ice Hockey Union) was created out of the Winter Sports Union. The Yugoslavian National Team played its first game on January 30, 1934 in Ljubljana when it lost 1-0 to Romania.
Yugoslavia became a member of the International Ice Hockey Federation in February of 1939. The over matched national side finished 13th at that year's World Championships. Yugoslavia did not appear at the World Championships on a regular basis until the 1963 "B" Pool tournament. They remained at this level until they slipped to "C" Pool in 1979. Yugoslavia alternated between "B" and "C" Pools until the Civil War took its toll in the 1990's. The re-shaped team finished eighth at the 1995 "C" Pool tournament and was relegated to "D" Pool.
Four teams competed in the first national championship tournament in January, 1939. Ilirija Ljubljana emerged triumphant in each of the first three years of the competition. Following World War II, Partizan Belgrade and Mladost Zagreg waged a rivalry. The first rinks with artificial ice were opened in Ljubljana and Jesenice in 1954. Hockey was always very popular in the northern regions of the country, especially Slovenia. The Slovenia-based HK Jesenice club won a record 15 consecutive national titles from 1957 to 1971. This powerhouse continued to win championships over the next twenty years but did encounter strong resistance from Olimpija Laibach, Partizan Belgrade, Red Star Belgrade and Medveszak Zagreb. Since 1991, Slovenia and Croatia have had their own independent hockey associations.