Older Lithuanians remember how popular ice hockey was in the Soviet Union and what a following the Soviet-Canadian matches used to attract. However, while the Soviet basketball team was dominated by ethnic Lithuanians, Lithuania had only two recent successful hockey players, both of whom joined NHL in the 1990s. These are Darius Kasparaitis and Dainius Zubrus, both from a town of Elektrėnai, where the only more successful Lithuanian ice hockey team “Elektrėnų energija” is also based.
Two players are far too few to make a strong national team. To make matters even worse Darius Kasparaitis opted for Russian citizenship after the Soviet Union collapsed. He represented Russia ever since. Lithuanian ice hockey team thus never even qualified to the main division. Unlike the neighboring Belarus, where ice hockey is immensely popular. Due to this “Elektrėnų energija” team plays in the Belarusian second league.
Lithuanian ice hockey league exists but it is amateur.