Ice hockey at the 1948 Winter Olympics

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Ice hockey at the 1948 Winter Olympics
Tournament details
Host country  Switzerland
Dates30 January–8 February
Venue(s)St. Moritz Olympic Ice Rink, Suvretta, Kulm (in 1 host city)
Final positions
Champions Gold medal blank.svg Canada (5th title)
Runner-up Silver medal blank.svg Czechoslovakia
Third place Bronze medal blank.svg  Switzerland
Fourth place Sweden
Tournament statistics
Matches played36
Goals scored482 (13.39 per match)
Scoring leader(s)Canada Walter Halder
(29 points)

The men's ice hockey tournament at the 1948 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland, was the 6th Olympic Championship, also served as the 15th World Championships and the 26th European Championships. Canada won its fifth Olympic gold medal and 12th World Championship, represented by the Ottawa RCAF Flyers team of Canadian Armed Forces personnel. The highest-finishing European team Czechoslovakia, won the silver medal and its eighth European Championship.[1] Bibi Torriani played for Switzerland which won the bronze medal, and became the first ice hockey player to recite the Olympic Oath on behalf of all athletes.[2]

The hockey tournament was in jeopardy in being played due to disagreements between the Ligue Internationale de Hockey sur Glace and the International Olympic Committee, and a threatened boycott by the United States Olympic Committee when two American hockey teams showed up to play. Writer Jack Sullivan referred to the 1948 Winter Olympics as "the most controversial, name-calling, complaint-filled, Winter Olympic Games ever held".[3]

Changes in world hockey since 1936[edit]

After the 1936 Winter Olympics, the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) revised its definition of amateur when it failed to win the gold medal in hockey, and broke away from the Amateur Athletic Union of Canada despite the possibility that its players may no longer be eligible for Olympic hockey.[4] In August 1937, Eastern Amateur Hockey League president Tommy Lockhart broke away from the Amateur Athletic Union of the United States over disagreements on Canadian-born players in his league, then reached a co-operative agreement directly with the CAHA.[5] He then founded the Amateur Hockey Association of the United States (AHAUS) as a rival governing body of ice hockey.[6]

The CAHA and the AHAUS joined to form the International Ice Hockey Association in 1940.[7] Former CAHA president W. G. Hardy was elected its president, and sought for acceptance by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on terms acceptable to the CAHA.[8][9] CAHA president George Dudley subsequently threatened to withdraw Canada from the Olympics over the definition of amateur. An IOC decision on the matter was postponed when the 1940 Winter Olympics and 1944 Winter Olympics were cancelled due to World War II.[4]

In 1946, the Ligue Internationale de Hockey sur Glace (LIHG) held its first congress since 1939. The LIHG expelled Germany and Japan, and memberships of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia were consolidated into the Soviet Union. Austria was readmitted to the LIHG, and Denmark was welcomed as a new member.[10] Paul Loicq stepped down as after 25 years as LIHG president, and was succeeded by Fritz Kraatz in 1947.[10] The LIHG also agreed to a merger with the International Ice Hockey Association, and recognized AHAUS as the governing body of hockey in the United States instead of the AAU.[11]

Rival American organizations[edit]

The LIHG met in September 1947 to decide on whether to have an ice hockey tournament at the Winter Olympics, or host a separate Ice Hockey World Championships elsewhere in Switzerland in 1948.[12] Prior to the meeting, Avery Brundage of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) reportedly campaigned to delegates to vote against inclusion of the AHAUS in the upcoming Olympics. George Dudley and Bunny Ahearne felt that the Swiss Olympic organizing committee would agree to either definition of amateur as long as hockey would be included, since it would be the most profitable event at the Olympics.[13] The LIHG passed a resolution that its teams would only play against teams approved by the CAHA and the AHAUS, which was accepted by the Swiss Olympic organizing committee.[14]

In November 1947, Ahearne reported that the AAU still planned on sending a team to the Olympics. Brundage threatened that the USOC would boycott the Olympics if the AHAUS team was recognized.[14] The LIHG met again in December regarding United States participation in the Olympics. Ahearne suggested organizing Ice Hockey World Championships in Zürich and Basel instead of during the Olympics. He felt the Brundage threat was a bluff and an attempt to sabotage Olympic ice hockey. Ahearne reiterated that LIHG teams would not play against an AAU representative.[15]

The idea of hosting a separate Ice Hockey World Championships surfaced again in January, and Ahearne stated that such a tournament could be arranged on 48 hours' notice.[16] The Swiss Olympic organizing committee insisted on the AHAUS team being recognized, despite persistent charges by Brundage that the AHAUS team was "tainted with professionalism".[17] Brundage and the AAU supported a National Collegiate Athletic Association team instead.[17] After bitter negotiations which were not resolved until the night before the Olympics, the AHAUS team was allowed to play in the tournament, but the IOC declared those games would not count in the standings.[3] The winner of the hockey tournament would be recognized as an Olympic champion, except for the United States team.[18]

Participating nations[edit]

Final tournament[edit]

The tournament was run in a round-robin format with nine teams participating. The Canadians had seven wins and one tie against the team from Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakia also won seven games. The tournament was decided on goal average. Canada outscored their opponents 69:5 (a 13.8 goal average). The Czechoslovakia team outscored their opponents 80:18 (a 4.44 goal average). On the final day the Swiss watched the Czechoslovaks beat the Americans dashing their gold medal aspirations, and then lost their opportunity for silver in a loss to Canada, finishing with a bronze.[19]

Because this tournament was also the LIHG World Championship, the United States earned a fourth-place ranking in the LIHG standings.[20] George Dudley stated that the 1948 Olympic hockey tournament was played in "ridiculous weather conditions" with poor refereeing.[21]

Medal Team
Gold  Canada
Silver  Czechoslovakia
Bronze   Switzerland
Pld W L T GF GA Pts
 Canada 8 7 0 1 69 5 15
 Czechoslovakia 8 7 0 1 80 18 15
  Switzerland 8 6 2 0 67 21 12
 Sweden 8 4 4 0 55 28 8
 Great Britain 8 3 5 0 39 47 6
 Poland 8 2 6 0 29 97 4
 Austria 8 1 7 0 33 77 2
 Italy 8 0 8 0 24 156 0
 United States * 8 5 3 0 86 33 10

* United States team was not eligible for a final ranking. Only eight teams are officially ranked.


  • January 30
    • Switzerland 5–4 USA
    • Canada 3–1 Sweden
    • Poland 7–5 Austria
    • Czechoslovakia 22–3 Italy
  • January 31
    • USA 23–4 Poland
    • Czechoslovakia 6–3 Sweden
    • Switzerland 16–0 Italy
    • United Kingdom 5–4 Austria
  • February 1
    • Canada 3–0 United Kingdom
    • USA 31–1 Italy
    • Switzerland 11–2 Austria
    • Czechoslovakia 13–1 Poland
  • February 2
    • Sweden 7–1 Austria
    • Canada 15–0 Poland
    • Czechoslovakia 11–4 United Kingdom
  • February 3
    • Canada 21–1 Italy
    • USA 5–2 Sweden
  • February 4
    • Czechoslovakia 17–3 Austria
    • Poland 13–7 Italy
    • Switzerland 12–3 United Kingdom
  • February 5
    • Austria 16–5 Italy
    • United Kingdom 7–2 Poland
    • Switzerland 8–2 Sweden
    • Canada 12–3 USA
  • February 6
    • Switzerland 14–0 Poland
    • Canada 0–0 Czechoslovakia
    • Sweden 4–3 United Kingdom
    • USA 13–2 Austria
  • February 7
    • USA 4–3 United Kingdom
    • Czechoslovakia 7–1 Switzerland
    • Canada 12–0 Austria
    • Sweden 23–0 Italy
  • February 8
    • United Kingdom 14–7 Italy
    • Czechoslovakia 4–3 USA
    • Canada 3–0 Switzerland
    • Sweden 13–2 Poland


Average age[edit]

Team Poland was the oldest team in the tournament, averaging 29 years and 10 months. Team USA was the youngest team in the tournament, averaging 23 years and 1 months. Gold medalists Canada averaged 25 years and 8 months. Tournament average was 27 years and 2 months.[22]

Top scorer[edit]

The Ottawa RCAF Flyers, who represented Canada and won the gold medal.
Team GP G A Pts
Canada Walter Halder 8 21 8 29

Team Canada roster[edit]

RCAF Flyers

Country Members
CAN Murray Dowey, Frank Dunster, Andre Laperriere, Louis Lecompte, Jean Gravelle, Patrick Guzzo, Walter Halder, Ted Hibberd, George Mara, Ab Renaud, Reg Schroeter, Irving Taylor; Coach: Frank Boucher

European Championship medal table[edit]

Gold medal icon.svg  Czechoslovakia
Silver medal icon.svg   Switzerland
Bronze medal icon.svg  Sweden
4  Great Britain
5  Poland
6  Austria
7  Italy


  1. ^ "Ice Hockey at the 1948 St. Moritz Winter Games". Sports Reference. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  2. ^ "Factsheet - Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games" (PDF) (Press release). International Olympic Committee. 9 October 2014. Archived (PDF) from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 22 September 2019.
  3. ^ a b Sullivan, Jack (February 23, 1960). "'Squawk' Valley Hassles 'Duck Soup'". Brandon Sun. Brandon, Manitoba. p. 7.Free to read
  4. ^ a b Young, Scott (1989). 100 Years of Dropping the Puck. Toronto, Ontario: McClelland & Stewart Inc. pp. 189–192. ISBN 0-7710-9093-5.
  5. ^ "Eastern U.S. Puck Loops Quits A.A.U." Winnipeg Tribune. Winnipeg, Manitoba. August 31, 1937. p. 36.Free to read
  6. ^ "Lockhart, Thomas -- Honoured Builder". Legends of Hockey. Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2020-01-01.
  7. ^ Clarke, Robert (April 16, 1940). "New Controlling Body Formed At C.A.H.A. Meet". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. p. 15.Free to read
  8. ^ "Dr. Hardy Outlines Scheme At Annual Gathering C.A.H.A." Lethbridge Herald. Lethbridge, Alberta. January 4, 1941. p. 18.Free to read
  9. ^ "Rules, Playdowns Discussed At C.A.H.A. Meeting". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. January 4, 1941. p. 21.Free to read
  10. ^ a b "IIHF 1946–1956". International Ice Hockey Federation. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  11. ^ "C.A.H.A. Gains Few Points At Prague Hockey Confab". Winnipeg Tribune. Winnipeg, Manitoba. March 22, 1947. p. 33.Free to read
  12. ^ "Olympic Hockey Question Soon Will Be Decided". Winnipeg Tribune. Winnipeg, Manitoba. July 5, 1947. p. 15.Free to read
  13. ^ "Hockey Politics Are Rampant In Zurich". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. September 10, 1947. p. 18.Free to read
  14. ^ a b "Yank Puck Bodies Are Feudin' And Fightin'". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. November 8, 1947. p. 22.Free to read
  15. ^ "Brundage Bluffing, Charges Ahearne". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. December 4, 1947. p. 19.Free to read
  16. ^ "Dudley Agrees To Federation Title Proposal". Winnipeg Tribune. Winnipeg, Manitoba. January 7, 1948. p. 26.Free to read
  17. ^ a b "Bitter, Long-Drawn Out Olympic Hockey Controversy Still Rages". Winnipeg Tribune. Winnipeg, Manitoba. January 27, 1948. p. 12.Free to read
  18. ^ "Czech-Flyers Tied: Olympic Heads To Recognize Puck Games". Lethbridge Herald. Lethbridge, Alberta. February 7, 1948. p. 17.Free to read
  19. ^ "Rapport General sur les Ves Jeux Olympiques D'Hiver St Moritz 1948" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-04-10. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
  20. ^ "Jeux Olympiques de Saint-Moritz 1948". Hockey Archives (in French). Retrieved 2020-02-03.
  21. ^ "Dudley Scorns Olympic Hockey". Winnipeg Tribune. Winnipeg, Manitoba. March 20, 1948. p. 18.Free to read
  22. ^ "Team Canada - Olympics - Sankt Moritz 1948 - Player Stats". QuantHockey. Retrieved 23 April 2020.