Prior to the tournament the Canadian delegation argued for the disqualification of both France and Great Britain. Coached by future IIHF President John "Bunny" Ahearne, the British team featured only one player - defenseman Carl Erhardt - who was a true Englishman. All his teammates were of Canadian origin, as were the players who formed the core of the French team.
After long negotiations, Canada withdrew its protest against Great Britain but not against France. The French team was permitted to take part, but almost refused to do so in its anger over the Canadian protest.
Great Britain went on to win its first and only Olympic gold medal in ice hockey largely based on a 2-1 upset of Canada in the semifinals.
The 2-1 overtime loss by the United States to Italy in the elimination round was the biggest upset of the tournament. Nevertheless, the Americans won the bronze medal and even held Great Britain to a scoreless tie on the final day.
Teams from 15 countries participated, including Italy, Japan, and Latvia who were all making their Olympic debut. Japan's goaltender, Teiji Honma, wore a face mask for the first time in the history of Olympic play. Also for the first time, both the Canadians and Americans were defeated by European teams, as Canada had to settle for the silver medal.
The games were played outdoors on natural ice and snowstorms often forced the stoppage of play.