|Born: June 15, 1914 in Kosice, Austro-Hungarian Monarchy (Slovakia)
Died: November 8, 1948 in the English Channel (France / Great Britain)
Ladislav Trojak was the first Slovak ice hockey player to represent Czechoslovakia internationally, and he became the first Slovak to win an IIHF World Championship gold medal while representing Czechoslovakia, this at the 1947 World event in Prague. With this, Trojak became an inspiration for all Slovak athletes who dreamt about competing on the world stage.
Prior to the 1947 success, the first time Czechoslovakia won gold in ice hockey, Trojak was a five-time Czechoslovak champion with the powerhouse LTC Prague team to which he transferred in 1934 after leaving his maternal club CsCK Kosice.
A forward with great skating ability and defensive prowess, Trojak was first selected to the national team for the 1936 Olympics in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Additionally, he was selected for the five following IIHF World Championships, including the 1948 Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland where Czechoslovakia lost the gold medal to Canada on goal ratio.
Trojak scored 17 goals in 32 World Championship games, and he added five more in 16 Olympic games. In total, Trojak represented his country on 75 occasions, a truly impressive number in an era when national team games were rare.
Czechoslovakias final game at the 1948 Olympics a 4-3 win over the United States would be Trojaks last championship game for the national team. On November 8 the same year, Ladislav Trojak perished in an airplane crash over the English Channel along with five other members of the Czechoslovak team.
Trojak was inducted to the Slovak Hockey Hall of Fame in 2002 and his sweater number 9 has been retired and hangs in the rafters of the 2011 IIHF World Championship venue in his home town Kosice. The arena that opened in 2006 is named in honour of Ladislav Trojak.