The first reference of the settlement that became known as Jihlava was in 1233; 723 years later a hockey club arrived.
HC Dukla Jihlava is one of the most decorated hockey franchises in Czech hockey history. The club arrived out of necessity for a place for the military hockey team to live, train, and play. The Jihlava Hockey Ice Stadium began construction in 1954 and welcomed Dukla Jihlava in 1956.
The club didn’t encounter success immediately, but lead by coach Jaroslav Pitner (in Czech Jaroslava Pitnera) the club began to peak in the late 1960’s. From 1967 – 1972 Dukla Jihlava were the Czechoslovakian league champions.
They again had another championship win streak from 1982-1985. In total, the club has won 12 league championships and four Spengler Cups.
However, after the Velvet Revolution, the funding from the army slowly dwindled and players were lured away with professional contracts and the city took over control of the club in 1999. Despite the clubs best efforts, Dukla Jihlava was relegated to the second division.
Dukla Jihlava returned to the top flight Czech Extraliga for the 2004-05 season, but couldn’t keep up financially with the other clubs and found itself back in the first league after the season.
The club has developed numerous Czech national team stars and NHL stars. Czechoslovakian national team coach, Jaroslav Pitner, lead Dukla Jihlava from 1958-1982 – one of the longest coaching tenures in hockey history. Players like Bobby Holik, Michal Rozsival, and Dominik Hasek once wore the signature Dukla maroon and yellow jersey that clashes with the red hockey pants and helmet.
All information gathered from http://www.hcdukla.cz and Lukas Varhanik’s bachelor’s thesis, “Lexicon of Personalities of the hockey club Dukla Jihlava” 2012.