This tournament featured one of the most infamous brawl in international hockey history as Canada and the Soviet Union engaged in a wild melee after both benches cleared in the second period of the final game of the tournament.
It began when Pavel Kostichkin took a two-handed slash at Theoren Fleury, sparking a fight between the two. The benches cleared after the USSR's Evgeny Davydov left his bench to join the melee. The officials, unable to break up the fight, walked off the ice and eventually tried shutting off the arena lights, but the brawl lasted for 20 minutes before the International Ice Hockey Federation abandoned the contest. An emergency meeting was held following the brawl that ended with the delegates voting 7–1 to disqualify Canada and USSR from the tournament, the sole dissenter being Canadian Dennis McDonald. The Canadian team, disgusted at what they perceived to be a conspiracy against them, chose to leave rather than stay for the end-of-tournament dinner, from which the Soviet team were banned.
While the Soviets were out of medal contention, Canada was playing for the gold medal, and were leading 4–2 at the time of the brawl (they needed to win by at least five goals to claim the gold). Even had they lost the game, they were assured at least the bronze medal. Afterwards, Soviet hockey official Anatoly Kastriukov claimed that the hostilities were fueled by a Canadian trainer, alleging that he assaulted one of the Soviet assistant coaches. Some Canadians maintained that the Soviets had started the brawl by leaving their bench first, and had done so with the intention of getting Canada disqualified and lose a medal.
Canada and USSR being disqualified had the retroactive effect of making the Finland-Czechoslovakia game (played earlier the same day) the gold medal game, while the Sweden-United States game became the bronze medal contest, and the Poland-Switzerland game determined who placed fifth. The loser of the latter game (Switzerland) was relegated, just as they would have been had the brawl not occurred.