Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, the former Soviet Olympic committee decided to call its delegation to the Winter Games the "Unified Team" because several athletes in various sports were from former Soviet republics.
The hockey team played with no logo on its uniform and no national anthem was played when the former Soviets won the gold medal. The Olympic anthem was played instead. Vyacheslav Bykov, the diminutive captain, was the inspirational leader of the Olympic champions and 20 of the 23 players from their roster eventually played in the NHL.
The 1992 Olympic hockey tournament adopted a playoff system for the first time in the post-War era. The one-game elimination playoff system included eight teams in the quarterfinals and saw the four teams with the best records in the preliminary round reach the semifinals.
Forty years after the Edmonton Mercurys won Canada's last Olympic gold medal, Dave King's Canadian national team made it to the final game. The game remained scoreless after the second period but the Unified Team of former Soviet players outscored their Canadian opponents 3-1 to win the championship.
Led by future NHL stars Joe Juneau and Eric Lindros, Canada advanced to the finals with a thrilling shoot-out win over Germany in the quarterfinals and upset a more experienced team from Czechoslovakia 4-2 in the semifinals. Future NHLer Robert Lang starred in the tournament for Czechoslovakia, which breezed to a 6-1 victory over a talented group of American collegians in the bronze medal game. The U.S. had finished first in its group in the preliminary round and defeated France 4-1 in the quarterfinals before bowing 5-2 to the Unified Team in the semis.