Other International Stars
Ladislav Trojak
Czechoslovakia
By Patrick Houda

Name:  Ladislav TrojŠk
Nickname:  Trojacek, Patrik and Skot
Born: June 15,1914 in Kosice, Slovakia
Died: November 8,1948 in La Manche, France
Position: RW
Shoots: Right
Height:  5' 7"
Weight:  160 Ibs
Number:  9
Clubs: CsSK Kosice and LTC Prague
Nat'l Team App:  75
Nat'l Team Goals: 37

The first Slovakian hockey star was discovered by a coincidence during a tournament held in the Tatra mountains in 1934. Jan Michalek, a defenseman for Sparta Prague played in that tournament and was mighty impressed by the Slovakian whirlwind.

Upon his return to Prague, Michalek (TrojŠk's future  teammate) talked enthusiastically about TrojŠk.
The manager of LTC Prague, one of Europe's top clubs at that time got curious and decided to take the 6 hour drive to Kosice and check him out.

LTC's manager got blown away when he saw TrojŠk and immediately approached TrojŠk to ink a deal, but it was too late. TrojŠk had just signed with HC Tatry. No problem!  The manager took TrojŠk back to Prague and then proceeded to give HC Tatry a lot of money in order for them to drop the contract.

TrojŠk was an exceptional skater and he used that to his advantage at all times, aside from his skating ability his strongest asset was a tremendous work ethic. He dug out pucks from the corners and battled for every inch. Although he was an adequate goal scorer he was more keen on setting up his linemates and was a very good passer.

TrojŠk played so well that he soon was promoted to LTC's first line with the legendary scoring machine Josef Malecek and Oldrich Kucera. Together with these two they also formed a dangerous line on the Czechoslovakian national team.

In later years TrojŠk played with Vladimir Zabrodskż and Stanislav Konopasek, two other highly regarded players both domestically and internationally. TrojŠk was always in the background and never wanted to be in the limelight. He could have made the headlines with his flair and skills. But he choose to do the dirty work on the ice and never complained, on the contrary, he loved to battle.

Unfortunately WW II robbed him of his best years. But even at the age of 34 he was still amongst the fastest players in
the country and was still on the national team. In early November 1948 the Czechoslovakian team was going to
London for a couple of games.

But not the entire team did fly to London at the same time.
Eight players took a flight one day earlier just to be followed by another six players who were to leave Paris the next day, amongst them TrojŠk. On the morning of November 8th, London was covered in a heavy mist. The first set of players who had arrived the day before waited for their teammates in the hotel, but to no avail.

The Czechoslovaks had a game to play at Wembley later that day, so the eight players left for Wembley thinking that their six teammates would arrive directly to  Wembley instead. In the second period the English players showed great sportsmanship and also played the game with only eight players. The Czechs won the game 5-3, but the players were more worried about their teammates.

Not until late that night did they found out that the small plane had vanished from the radar over the waters of La Manche. There was never a trace found after the plane which almost 55 years later is resting somewhere at the bottom
of La Manche.

Six families suffered a tremendous loss but to add salt to their wounds, the secret police started to interrogate them. The secret police accused the players for having staged their own deaths and that they were living somewhere abroad.

Lea TrojŠkova and her six year old daughter were devastated by the threats, accusations and lies surrounding their dead husband and father. Lea was blocked from taking any jobs and only by help of some good friends did she eventually get a job as a janitor.

The prosecution of TrojŠk's teammates continued for years and virtually all the players were sentenced to hard labour work, some ranging between 10 to 15 years.

Today there's a tournament played each year in Kosice in the memory of TrojŠk, called Ladislav TrojŠk memorial. The stadium is also named after him.