Host City: Innsbruck, Austria
Venue(s): Kunsteisbahn Messehalle, Innsbruck; Olympic Ice Stadium, Innsbruck
Date Started: January 27, 1964
Date Finished: February 9, 1964
Format: Qualifying round placed teams into final and consolation round-robin pools.
The ice hockey world was slowly changing. The USSR was considered the best team in the world now, possibly the equal of some of the NHL teams. But Sweden and Canada still challenged them, winning the 1961 and 1962 World Championships, respectively. However, the Soviets did not compete in the 1962 event, held in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and then easily won the 1963 World Championship. They were heavy favorites at the 1964 Winter Olympics, and they did not disappoint, winning all 7 games, and outscoring their opponents 54-10 in the final round. But it was actually closer than that. The final game matched Canada and the Soviets, and if Canada won, they would have identical 6-1 records, and Canada would win by virtue of the head-to-head victory. Canada led 2-1, near the end of the second period, but the Soviets scored to tie it up heading into the locker room. In the third period, the USSR scored one unanswered goal to win, 3-2, and earn another gold medal.
This dropped Canada into a three-way tie for second with Sweden and Czechoslovakia. The tiebreak rule, announced before the tournament, was that in such a situation, the goals differentials would be used in games involving the tied teams. But the IIHF ruled late during the tournament that goal differential for all games would be the deciding factor. Under either rule, Sweden earned the silver medal. But under the original rule, Canada would be the bronze medalist, while under the revised rule, the bronze went to Czechoslovakia. In 2005, the IIHF corrected this problem by awarding bronze medals to the Canadians as well, for the concurrent 1964 World Championships, although the IOC has never done this.