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Men's Pool A
IIHF Men's World Hockey Championships
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World Championships Photo The 1976 championship was held in Poland in recognition of the country's improved play in recent years. The "A" Pool was expanded to eight teams, which allowed the United States to avoid relegation to "B" Pool after a last-place finish in 1975. The second opening had been offered to Canada, but went instead to "B" Pool runner-up West Germany. A new format was devised that would split the nations into two groups of four after an opening round-robin series. The top four nations would then play a round-robin final, while the last four countries held a separate playoff. The appointment of Dr. Gunther Sabetzki to the position of president of the IIHF at the July 1975 Congress in Switzerland had led to a declaration that professional players would be allowed to compete at the 1976 World Championship. The move was made to entice Canada back into the international fold, and Canada did return, but not until the following year. The United States used three NHL players - Steve Jensen, Pete Lopresti and Lou Nanne of the Minnesota North Stars. In one of the biggest upsets in international hockey history, the host Poles stunned the defending champion Soviets 6-4. At the Olympics two months earlier, the USSR had humiliated Poland 16-1. The loss crippled the Soviets' title hopes. The USSR went on to earn only a tie in two matches with Czechoslovakia and lost to Sweden to finish with the silver medal. The Czechoslovaks, losers to the Soviets 4-3 in the gold medal game at the Innsbruck Olympics just two months before, grabbed gold in Poland. The bronze medal went to Sweden. Vladimir Martinec of Czechoslovakia led all scorers with 20 points in 10 games and teammate Jiri Holecek was named best goalie in the tournament.
1976 Katowice Summary
Click on a team below to see its roster and stats.
Rank Country Games Wins Losses Ties Points GDF GF GA
1 Czechoslovakia 10 9 0 1 19      
2 USSR 10 6 3 1 13      
3 Sweden 10 6 4 0 12      
4 USA 10 3 6 1 7      
5 Finland 10 3 4 3 9      
6 West Germany 10 3 6 1 7      
7 Poland 10 3 5 2 8      
8 East Germany 10 2 7 1 5      

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