Ice hockey at the 1920 Summer Olympics

Ice hockey at the
Games of the VII Olympiad
1st Ice Hockey
World Championships
Picture of the Gold Medal-winning Winnipeg Falcons taken en route to the 1920 Olympics (photo includes an unidentified ships' officer and a woman)
Tournament details
Host country  Belgium
Dates April 23–29, 1920
Tournament format Bergvall System
Teams 7
Arena(s) Palais de Glace d'Anvers
(in Antwerp)
Final positions
Champions Gold medal blank.svg Canada
Winnipeg Falcons (1st title)
Runner-up Silver medal blank.svg United States
Third place Bronze medal blank.svg  Czechoslovakia
Fourth place  Sweden
Tournament statistics
Matches played 10
Goals scored 99 (9.9 per match)
Attendance 6,946 (695 per match)
Scoring leader(s) Herb Drury
(14 points)

Ice hockey was introduced to the Olympic Games at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp.[1][2] The tournament also served as the 1st World Championships. The matches were played between April 23 and April 29, 1920. Canada, represented by the Winnipeg Falcons, won the gold medal.[3] The silver went to the United States and Czechoslovakia took the bronze.


The organizing committee for the hockey matches included Paul Loicq, the captain of the Belgian team and a future president of the International Ice Hockey Federation.[4] The games used the Canadian ice hockey rules, and the Bergvall system to determine medal winning teams.[5]

All matches took place in the Palais de Glace d'Anvers (ice palace of Antwerp).[3] The rink was smaller than North American standards, measuring 56 metres (184 ft) long by 18 metres (59 ft) wide. All games were played with seven players per side, with the rover position being used. For the duration of each match no substitutions were permitted and if a player exited the game due to injury the opposing team was forced to take a player out as well. Additional differences from modern play included a prohibition on forward passing and the requirement that all players including the goaltender be standing on his skates to play the puck.[4] The duration of each game was two periods of twenty minutes each.[3] If any game had been tied at the end of the 40th minute, an additional two periods of five minutes each (ten minutes total) would have been added. And this process of adding two periods of five minutes each would have continued if the score were still tied at the end of any ten-minute addendum.

This was the first ice hockey tournament at an Olympic Games, and the only ever instance of it at a Summer Olympics.[3] An ice hockey tournament was part of the inaugural Winter Olympics in 1924 and has been part of every Winter program since then.


Palais de Glace d'Anvers ice rink where the ice hockey tournament was held.

Participating nations

A total of 60 ice hockey players from 7 nations competed at the Antwerp Games:


Seven nations entered teams in the inaugural Olympic ice hockey tournament. The tournament format used the Bergvall system, starting with an elimination round to determine the gold medal winner, after which teams that lost to the tournament winner would play through a new bracket to determine silver. Finally, teams which lost to either the gold or silver winners would face off in a third bracket to determine the bronze winner. For the gold medal round, teams were drawn into the bracket with France receiving a bye to the semifinals.

At the time of draw, the Swedish team questioned how the matchups for the later rounds would be determined and it was believed that teams advancing further in the earlier round would receive a bye.[4] However, no decision was made and when it came time for the silver medal round Sweden and the United States were selected to play a semifinal game while Czechoslovakia received the bye. Later for the bronze medal round, organizers wanted to ensure the tournament would conclude on schedule but were reluctant to force the Czechoslovakians to play twice in one day. As a result, the Swedish team were made to play another semifinal game which would be their fourth in as many days with the bronze medal game the following day. This led to criticism of the format despite Bergvall later noting that the system was not used correctly.[4]

Gold medal round (premier prix)


Quarterfinals Semifinals Gold Medal Game
April 23
 Sweden 8
April 25
 Belgium 0
 Sweden 4
 France 0
April 26
 Canada 1st place, gold medalist(s) 12
April 24
 Sweden 1
 United States 9
April 25
  Switzerland 0
 Canada 2
April 24
 United States 0
 Canada 15
 Czechoslovakia 0



Gold medal game

Silver medal round (second prix)


Semifinal Silver Medal Game
April 27
 United States 7
April 28
 Sweden 0
 United States 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 16
 Czechoslovakia 0


Silver medal game

Bronze medal round (troisième prix)


Semifinal Bronze Medal Game
April 28
 Sweden 4
April 29
  Switzerland 0
 Czechoslovakia 3rd place, bronze medalist(s) 1
 Sweden 0


Bronze medal game


Average age

Team France was the oldest team in the tournament, averaging 32 years and 11 months. Gold medalists team Canada was the youngest team in the tournament, averaging 24 years and 5 months. Tournament average was 26 years and 9 months.[6]

Scoring leaders

Player GP G
 Herb Drury (USA) 4 14
 Frank Fredrickson (CAN) 3 12
 Anthony Conroy (USA) 4 10
 Haldor Halderson (CAN) 3 9
 Joe McCormick (USA) 3 8
 Moose Goheen (USA) 6 2
 Larry McCormick (USA) 1 5
 Erik Burman (SWE) 5 4
 Gerry Geran (USA) 2 3
 Magnus Goodman (CAN) 3 3


Final ranking

Rank Team GP W L GF GA GD
1st place, gold medalist(s)  Canada 3 3 0 29 1 28
2nd place, silver medalist(s)  United States 4 3 1 52 2 50
3rd place, bronze medalist(s)  Czechoslovakia 3 1 2 1 31 -30
4  Sweden 6 3 3 17 20 -3
5   Switzerland 2 0 2 0 33 -33
5  France 1 0 1 0 4 -4
5  Belgium 1 0 1 0 8 -8



  1. ^ Justin Felisko. "When Ice Hockey Was A Summer Sport". USA Hockey Magazine. Retrieved 2016-10-25.
  2. ^ "Ice Hockey at the 1920 Antwerp Summer Games". Sports Reference. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d Smith, Stephen (23 April 2020). "Remembering Canada's first Olympic hockey gold: Winning gold 100 years ago in Antwerp, Belgium, Canada's team set a standard for Olympic hockey dominance that would last for three more successive Games". Canadian Geographic. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d Hansen, Kenth (May 1996). "The Birth of Swedish Ice Hockey – Antwerp 1920". LA84 Digital Library. Retrieved 2021-05-27.
  5. ^ "Story #21: Ice Hockey debuts at the Olympics". International Ice Hockey Federation. 2008. Retrieved 2019-07-25.
  6. ^ "Team Canada - Olympics - Antwerpen 1920 - Player Stats". QuantHockey. Retrieved 23 April 2020.

External links


  • Hansen, Kenth (May 1996), "The Birth of Swedish Ice Hockey – Antwerp 1920", Citius, Altiu, Fortius, 4 (2): 5–27
  • Wallechinsky, David; Loucky, Jaime (2005), The Complete Book of the Winter Olympics: Turin 2006 Edition, Wilmington, Delaware: Sport Media Publishing, ISBN 1-894963-45-8