- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Nine years after he last played in the NHL and seven years after he retired following a stint in the KHL, Darius Kasparaitis wants to represent his native Lithuania for the first time in his career.
The 43-year old Kasparaitis has played for Russia — along with the CIS and Unified team — at various international competitions during his career, but he’s never played for his native country.
Kasparaitis’ dream of playing for Lithuania has taken some time, as he told The Hockey News’ Dan Marrazza.
“You have to wait five years after you represented another country originally,” Kasparaitis said. “Then I’d have to play in a local championships in Lithuania for three years to qualify. I go to Lithuania once a year, twice a year to play in a national championship. Get a few games under my belt. I have to play one more year. The team I represent is called the Hockey Punks.”
The Lithuanian team will meet Hungary, Poland and Estonia in preliminary Olympic qualifying next month in Budapest, with the winner of the group advancing to the final round of qualifying which will take place in September. From there, the winners of the final groups will earn the last three spots in the 2018 tournament in PyeongChang.
But don’t expect Kasparaitis to be suiting up any time soon. As he told Marrazza, he’s shooting for the 2017 or 2018 World Championships.
Kasparaitis is currently the president and co-founder of the Verzasca Group, a South Florida real estate company. As he told the Examiner in August, real estate has always been an interest to him since he arrived in the U.S. and he even made some profitable investments on it during his NHL career.
"Even when I go back to Lithuania, I think about what people would think if I created something and built a building here or there," he said. "I never thought about the business aspect though. I was always a dreamer."
Now after a long professional career, five kids and starting a real estate business, Kasparaitis is aiming to fulfill another dream.
- - - - - - -
MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY: