Host City: Montréal, Canada
Venue(s): Percival Molson Memorial Stadium, Montréal, Québec
Date Started: July 18, 1976
Date Finished: July 30, 1976
Format: Round-robin pools advance teams to classification round matches.
This hockey tournament was the first to be played on artificial turf. The International Hockey Federation was initially opposed to this, but the Canadians claimed they would be unable to offer quality natural grass pitches for the entire tournament. Nowadays, all international matches are played on artificial surfaces. The number of participating nations had been cut back from 16 to 12, and was further reduced when Kenya joined the African boycott. Great Britain had been called in as a last-minute substitute, but at Heathrow Airport they heard they could return to their homes.
The tournament had many upsets. 1975 World Champion India did not make the semi-finals, and neither did defending Olympic Champion West Germany. Oceanian nations Australia and New Zealand did make the cut, along with hockey powerhouses Pakistan and the Netherlands. The latter team had been unbeaten in pool play, and heavily underestimated their semi-final opponents, New Zealand. After three overtime periods, the Kiwis scored the winning goal from a penalty corner. The other country from "down under", Australia, also upset their opponents 2-1, to make for a completely unexpected final line-up. This was even more surprising as the artificial turf was assumed to be an advantage to technically superior teams. The final was a rather boring affair, with [Tony Ineson] scoring the only goal on a penalty corner.