|National teams|| Men's|
|National federation||Lithuanian Ice Hockey Federation|
|IIHF since||February 19, 1938|
|Top league||Lithuania Hockey League|
|Current champion||Kaliningrado Delovaja Rus|
Lithuania is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. Vilnius is the capital and largest city. Lithuania was part of the Soviet Union from 1940 until it regained its independence in 1991.
|Lithuania Hockey League||1991||-||Top-level national league|
|Lithuanian Championship||1926||1942||Defunct national championship|
|Lithuanian SSR Championship||1942||1991||Defunct Soviet-era competition|
|Lithuanian Cup||1992||2000||Defunct cup competition|
|Lithuanian junior competitions||-||Various junior competitions|
History of hockey in LithuaniaEdit
Some of the earliest ice hockey games in Lithuania were played between LFLS Kaunas and "Aviacija" (Lithuanian Air Force Pilots) during the 1923-24 season. The results from the games were as follows: Dec. 25, 1923, 2:2, Dec 30, 1923, 11:2 (5:0), Jan. 6, 1924, 12:1 (6:1), Jan. 13, 1924, 6:2 (3:1).
The Lithuanian Championship was contested for the first time in 1926 and was staged until 1942. LFLS, LGSF Kaunas, and Tauras Kaunas won the majority of the pre-war championships. 13 teams participated in the league during the 1932-33 season. Kaunas was undoubtedly the hotbed of Lithuanian hockey during the early years, although there were also teams in Vilkaviskis and Klaipeda.
The Lithuanian Ice Hockey Federation was originally founded on October 14, 1932, and it joined the IIHF on February 19, 1938. Lithuania was expelled from the IIHF on April 26, 1946, after it was annexed by the Soviet Union. The Lithuanian Ice Hockey Federation was re-founded as part of the Soviet Ice Hockey Federation in 1991. The federation became independent the following year, and the country re-joined the IIHF on May 6, 1992.
Spartak Kaunas participated in the Soviet Championship League in the 1946-47 and 1947-48 seasons. After that, the Lithuanian SSR did not have a team participate in the top level of Soviet hockey, however Spartak Kaunas continued to compete in the lower-level Soviet leagues until 1955. Lithuanian teams participated solely in the Lithuanian SSR Championship from that point forward. The first team from Vilnius to compete in the championship was Spartakas Vilnius in 1947-48. When the city was part of Poland, teams from Vilnius competed in the Polish Championships.
When Lithuania became independent again in 1991, the Lithuania Hockey League was formed. It has been dominated by SC Energija from Elektrenai. Energija has won 17 of the championships and also played in the Latvian Hockey League from 2003-2012. Since 2013 they have played in the Belarusian Vysshaya Liga. The Nacionaline Ledo Ritulo Lyga (NLRL) was established as the national league in 2010. Teams from Kaliningrad, Russia, have also participated in the league, and Kaliningrado Delovaja Rus won back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015.
The Lithuanian National Team played its first international game on February 27, 1932, a 3-0 loss to Latvia. Lithuania participated in the 1938 World Championship, hosted by Prague. They finished tied for 10th place, recording a 1-0 victory over Romania. The country's last international game as an independent country was played in Kaunas in 1941. Lithuania was defeated 3-0 by Estonia.
After becoming independent again, Lithuania participated in World Championship qualification tournaments in 1993 and 1994. In 1995, they made their first appearance in the World Championships since 1938, playing in the C2 Pool held in Johannesburg, South Africa. Lithuania has never qualified for the Olympics, and has participated in the lower pools of the World Championships in all years except 1938. They have played in the Division I (second-tier) tournament since 2005.
The best Lithuanian players of all-time are Darius Kasparaitis and Dainius Zubrus. They both have enjoyed long careers in the National Hockey League after being first round draft choices of the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers, respectively.
The junior national team participated in the Group C Qualification tournament in 1992, and first played in the IIHF World U20 Championship in 1995, competing in the C2 Pool. They have played exclusively in the lower divisions of the world juniors.