January 19, 2014

1968 Olympics - Grenoble, France

Grenoble, France hosted the 1968 Winter Olympics, with Calgary once again finishing in second place in balloting. Lake Placid, Oslo, Sapporo and Lahti also submitted bids.

Gold Medal Showdown

Olympic placings were still based on tournament standings, with no true gold medal game. But in 1968 it just so happened that the Canada vs. Russia match on the final day of the tournament would determine who won the gold medal.

Whoever won the game would win gold. If Canada lost, it would win bronze. Yet, complicatedly, if the game ended in a tie the Soviets would win bronze, with Canada getting silver and the Czechoslovakians getting gold.

Canada had the usual cast of underdogs representing the nation, led by Fran Huck, Marshall Johnston, Morris Mott, Roger Bourbonnais, Terry O'Malley and the glass smashing Danny O'Shea. There were a couple of youngsters who would go on to notable NHL careers: goaltender Wayne Stephenson and defenseman Brian Glennie.

Glennie figured prominently in the gold medal game:

"All we had to do was tie the Russians and it would gives us the gold. In the second we had played them to a stand off and were getting good scoring chances," Glennie recalled in Ross Brewitt's book Into The Open Net. "Then I broke my stick in our end. The play moved away and continued almost long enough for me to get to our bench, but not quite, and I was caught in a two-on-one. While I was scrambling back, I ran over my own stick, fell, and they walked in and scored. The whole flow of the game changed and they went on to whack us 5-0. We came home with nothing. (Actually, Canada did win the bronze medal that year.) I never forgot that broken stick."

Canada Withdraws From Future International Competition

The Soviets won yet another gold medal, this time going 6-1, losing only to the fellow professionals from Czechoslovakia. Other nations could not compete against these two cheating juggernauts, especially with the governing bodies more than happy to allow it to happen. Canada had had enough, and demanded that they too would be allowed to use their professionals. Of course the IIHF and IOC would have no part of that. As a result, in 1970 Canada would no longer send teams to world championships and Olympic games. The holdout would last until 1977.

Morris Mott and Barry MacKenzie guard USA captain Lou Nanne closely.

Here's the final play of the final game, followed by the Soviet celebration, courtesy of YouTube:

GreatestHockeyLegends.com is the home of an extensive history of Olympic hockey. You can view each Olympic hockey tournament (men's and women's) below by clicking on the year of your choice. You can also enjoy my profiles of Olympic Hockey Legends.

1920 - Antwerp, Belgium
1924 - Chamonix, France
1928 - St. Moritz, Switz.
1932 - Lake Placid, USA
1936 - G.P., Germany
1940 - No Games - WWII
1944 - No Games - WWII
1948 - St. Moritz, Switz.
1952 - Oslo, Norway
1956 - Cortina, Italy
1960 - Squaw Valley, USA
1964 - Innsbruck, Austria
1968 - Grenoble, France
1972 - Sapporo, Japan
1976 - Innsbruck, Austria
1980 - Lake Placid, USA
1984 - Sarajevo, Yugoslavia
1988 - Calgary, Canada
1992 - Albertville, France
1994 - Lillehammer, Norway
1998 - Nagano, Japan
2002 - Salt Lake City, USA
2006 - Torino, Italy

2010 - Vancouver, Canada

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