2010 The first mention of university ice hockey in Trenčín
The beginnings of university ice hockey leagues in Trenčín date back to 2010, when the University of Management/City University of Seattle (VŠM/CityU) accepted the invitation from Alexander Dubček University of Trenčín (TnUAD) to participate in the tournament of three universities in Trenčín.
The tournament was organized by Alexander Dubček University of Trenčín in Trenčín and so both universities became the town rivals and had been regularly participating in the tournament until 2012. The third participant was the St. Elizabeth University, which, however did not participate in the following year. The tournament had been organized every year at the Marián Gáborík winter stadium and the teams of Trenčín were led by school representatives – Ľubomír Kráľ for TnUAD and Lukáš Frývaldský for CityU/VŠM.
The university team from VŠM/CityU later became the basis for creating the Gladiators Trenčín university ice hockey team.
2012 – Team establishment, first mention of Gladiators Trenčín
In 2012 European University Hockey League (EUHL) representatives came to VŠM/CityU with an offer to take part in the newly emerging project of the EUHL. After long negotiations between the league representatives and the school management, especially regarding funding and statute, Lukáš Frývaldský, the representative of VŠM/CityU, finally decided to form the university hockey team. The name Gladiators Trenčín is connected to the history of the town dating back to the Roman Empire. Marián Smerčiak, a long-time hockey representative of the Slovak Republic, became the coach.
The credit also belongs to the management of VŠM/CityU, which decided to participate in, that time unknown project and in the first year covered all the costs.
2013/2014 First season: “Original Six” (original six teams)
CityU Gladiators Trenčín under the leadership of manager Lukáš Frývaldský and the coach Marián Smerčiak belonged among the original six EUHL teams and in the historically first EUHL match won over the university ice hockey team from Zlín. The Gladiators finished the season at 4th place. Until 2019 only the teams from Trenčín and Prague remained from the original six (Gladiators Trenčín, TBU Zlín, ChU Prague, Paneuropa Kings, STU Engineers and VSEMvs).
In that season, the CityU Gladiators team had been still training at the Marián Gáborík winter stadium, but started moving the league matches to the Pavol Demitra winter stadium in Trenčín. Janka Danková, PR and marketing manager, joined the team. She significantly strengthened marketing in print media, social networks, and also on school and sport online portals in Slovakia. In addition, Janka also ensured administration for registrations of players and the entire administration of the online line-ups necessary to perform in the EUHL.
2014/2015 Season: Arrival of sports director – Roman Moravec, moving the team to the Pavol Demitra winter stadium and union with TnUAD
In 2014, the CityU Gladiators Trenčín team, already represented by FRYSLA Slovakia s.r.o., made significant changes and, based on an agreement with the town of Trenčín, moved to the Pavol Demitra winter stadium and started building its own cabin.
Another big change was a trilateral agreement between the statutory representative of the club, VŠM/CityU management and TnUAD management and both schools and long-standing sports rivals joined to one university team – Gladiators Trenčín. The agreement was not done easily; we needed to find a compromise, for example, in the team name, logo, or the colors of the jerseys.
The agreement on the part of TnUAD was successful due to its rector, Jozef Habánik, who agreed to co-finance the team from the resources of the University of Trenčín Alexander Dubček in Trenčín. The agreement was confirmed by the signing of a framework agreement between the club and the university.
Perhaps the most important change in the history of the club so far was done in the management, which was joined by Roman Moravec, a philanthropist, sponsor and sports director of Gladiators Trenčín. From that season, the players were granted with top equipment, which is not common even in some extra-league teams.
2015/2016 Season: Official cooperation with Dukla Trenčín extra-league team
The managers of both teams, Ján Kobezda and Lukáš Frývaldský, agreed on the historically first cooperation between university and professional ice hockey in Slovakia. Cooperation consisted of several levels. Junior players of Dukla Trenčín could try matches with more physically fit and older players from the EUHL during the season and play for the Gladiators Trenčín. If they did not want to continue professionally with ice hockey, Gladiators gave them the opportunity of dual education and so play ice hockey and study at the same time. By mutual agreement of both managers, the Gladiators were moving to larger premises, which were created by moving the gym to the first floor of the winter stadium and the reconstruction of both areas. This reconstruction in amount of approx. 15,000 EUR was financed by Roman Moravec.
That season, the team’s long-time player Tomáš Volek, joined the team and became assistant coach.
2016/2017 Season: Moving to the new premises
The team was significantly affected by the death of manager of Dukla Trenčín, Ján Kobezda (†41), who was the great support for Gladiators in negotiations with the extra-league team Dukla Trenčín. After the change in coaching and managerial positions of HC Dukla Trenčín, the Gladiators were forced to look for their new place in the town stadium and move again. The Gladiators moved from renovated premises of the former gym reconstructed into a cabin, into a standard cabin, reconstructed by Dukla Trenčín. According to the agreement between management of both teams, the reconstruction of the new cabin was financed by Dukla Trenčín as a compensation for the relocation.
2017/2018 Season: Arrival of manager Petr Uher and consolidation of the team
Peter Uher came to strengthen the team. That time the team went through a difficult period, mainly due to the lack of quality players able to play a demanding and increasingly high quality league. It was also the season a consolidation when the team focused mainly on preparing and setting up the system of play.
2018/2019 Season: Coaches change, scholarship system, Gladiators in the final
The season started with another important change, thanks to the support of Roman Moravec. Roman established a new scholarship system and provided other material and technical support which helped significantly. He created perfect conditions and an attractive environment for new players-students.
Another big change was held in the coaching position, where the long-term coach Marián Smerčiak was replaced by another representative Branislav Jánoš.
Also that season, the team was covered by both universities, while the continuation of VŠM/CityU was mainly due to the school rector Edita Hekelová.
That season, the team led by Branislav Jánoš reached the finals. The team lost to their rival from Banská Bystrica in the last match and ended up in the final second place. They, however, enjoyed the cup for the best placed Slovak team.
2019/2020 Season: Unfinished season
All the ice hockey leagues around the world including the EUHL were marked by a corona virus that season. The Gladiators got into the semifinals, but they did not play a single match in this phase of the game due to the mentioned problem. The 2019/ 2020 Season was not finished and due to the ongoing global problem the upcoming 2022/2021 did not start either.
2020/2021 Season: Season without ice hockey
The Gladiators Trenčín team was covered by the Alexander Dubček University of Trenčín in Trenčín, and a cooperation agreement was created for the purpose of establishing Gladiators TNUAD Trenčín n.o.
Based on the signed agreements with Alexander Dubček University of Trenčín, we have added the inscription TnUAD to the name Gladiators, and we are proud of it.