Host City: Grenoble, France
Date Started: February 4, 1968
Date Finished: February 17, 1968
Participants: 252 (252 men and 0 women) from 14 countries
Youngest Participant: Bernard Cabanis (17 years, 226 days)
Oldest Participant: Roland Stoltz (36 years, 188 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 54 athletes with 1 medal
Most Medals (Country): 3 countries with 1 medal
For the last time, the Olympic ice hockey competitions doubled as the World Championships. From 1972 on, separate World Championships would be held in Olympic years. The venues used in Grenoble were the Stade de Glace, an indoor hall for 12,000 spectators, and the Patinoire Municipale, a smaller rink. The format was somewhat different. There were 14 teams, eventually separated into an 8-team A Pool, that played a round-robin for the medals, and a 6-team B Pool that played for places 9-14. Five teams were seeded directly into the A Pool (Soviet Union, Canada, United States, Sweden, Czechoslovakia), and three teams were assigned to the B Pool (Austria, Japan, Romania). There were three single-elimination qualifying matches that advanced three winning teams into the A Pool. East Germany defeated Norway, West Germany defeated Romania, and Finland defeated Yugoslavia, with the GDR, the FRG and Finland getting to play with the big boys.
Canada won a bronze medal in 1968, but would not compete at the 1972 or 1976 Winter Olympics, upset by the Soviet Union’s pseudo-amateur players, while their own professionals were not allowed to compete. Canada, Sweden and the USSR actually played a small tournament in 1967 and 1968 among their three teams. Canada then proposed to the IIHF that they form a six-team World League with one team each from the USSR, Czechoslovakia, Sweden, and the United States, with Canada having two teams. It would consist of a 20-30 game schedule as preparation for the Winter Olympics, but the idea never came to fruition.