Kaspars Daugavins first came to international prominence at the 2006 World Championship in his native Riga. Only 17 years old at the time, he played just a small role on the Latvian national team, but as he has developed, he has become the cornerstone of the team’s future in the generation following Arturs Irbe, Sandis Ozolins, and the late Sergejs Zoltoks.
“We have a lot of young guys coming into the national team,” Daugavins said the other day after the team beat Italy, 5-2, to advance to the Qualification Round. “We now have maybe only six or seven guys here from the team when I first started. I think we’re a stronger team now because we’re younger and faster.”
Daugavins is central to the team’s development. He played for Latvia at three U18 events in Division I and demonstrated even as a young teen he was a top prospect in Latvia. In fact, in 2006 he played at the U18, U20, and World Championship and was even considered for the Olympic team.