The Winter Olympics returned just two years after the 1992 Games, breaking from tradition with the 4 year interval. The reason for this was to better separate the Winter and Summer games, which previously had been held in the same calendar year. This way each alternating event could enjoy the full spotlight, and Olympics would be held every 2 years.
In 1994 the winter Olympics returned to Norway, arguably the world's best winter sport nation. Lillehammer edged out Ostersund, Sweden in the voting process, with Sofia, Bulgaria and Anchorage, Alaska, USA also in the running.
The 1994 games would be memorably for the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan affair, a dramatic cross country skiing relay between Norway and Italy, and in the world of hockey a dramatic shootout winning goal by a young Peter Forsberg.
Hockey games were played at Fjellhallen in Gjøvik and the Håkons Hall.
Sweden's Greatest Moment
Although Sweden would win the Olympic gold medal again in 2006, their very first Olympic gold medal still resonates as Sweden's greatest hockey moment.
Part of the reason has to be the dramatics. A gold medal game tied after regulation and overtime periods, gone to a nailbiting shootout where Peter Forsberg puts his stamp on hockey history with one of the greatest goals of all time:
Kudos if you picked up my philately reference. This goal was famously immortalized on a Swedish postage stamp.
Other notable Swedish players on that team included Tommy Salo in goal, brothers Jorgen and Kenny Jonsson and veterans Mats Naslund, Hakan Loob and the unrelated Tomas Jonsson.
Canada iced probably their strongest modern day roster, although not without some controversy.
Future NHL superstar Paul Kariya led the way, with Brian Savage, Chris Kontos, Adrian Aucoin and Greg Johnson also slated to enjoy long NHL careers. Glenn Anderson wanted to be released from the NHL schedule to play in the games, but the NHL board of governors would not allow Anderson special exemption to play. Rumors had it that at least 2 US-based owners refused to allw Anderson to play because it improved Canada's chances .
Arguably the best Canadian player was not even a Canadian. Petr Nedved was a Czech born NHL star in the midst of a NHL contract dispute. He gained his Canadian citizenship and was given IIHF approval to represent Canada at the Olympics.
Devoted national team players like Todd Hlushko, Brad Werenka, Fabian Joseph, Wally Schreiber and team captain Brad Schlegel (pictured) all had strong tournaments, too.
Corey Hirsch played infamously in goal.
Other Notable Players
Team USA included Brian Rolston, Garth Snow, Todd Marchant and future star coach Peter Laviolette.
Slovakia, competing their first Olympics, included youngsters Ziggy Palffy, Robert Svehla, and Miroslav Satan. But the most interesting name on the roster was also the oldest. Peter Stastny, a proud Slovakian who had previously represented Czechoslovakia and Canada internationally, enjoyed his last great moment in a truly great career.
The rebuilding Russians featured very few big names, with only Sergei Berezin and Andrei Nikolishin going on to careers of note. Similarily the Czechs had no future stars except maybe goalie Roman Turek.
Finland had a few good young players to give hope to a new generation. Saku Koivu, Sami Kapanen, Jere Lehtinen and Janne Ojanen would all go on to achieve great things in their careers.
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