The tournament was marred by controversy before the Games began. The United States sent two hockey teams to compete in St. Moritz, which nearly caused the cancellation of the entire tournament. At the center of the issue was amateurism. One team was sponsored by the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). The USOC was responsible for determining American participation in the Games. The other team was sponsored by the Amateur Hockey Association (AHA) and the Ligue Internationale de Hockey sur Glace (LIHG). The LIHG, under the guidance of founder Wilhelm "Willie" Bernfeld, was responsible for approving the participation of national hockey teams at the Olympics. The AHA openly allowed professional players on their teams, and the team sent to St. Moritz was composed of professionals, whereas the AAU team was strictly made up of amateurs. No resolution was reached before the Games and both teams arrived at St. Moritz ready to play. This created a tense showdown between the USOC's president, Avery Brundage, the LIHG, the Swiss organizing committee and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC was responsible for the overall running of the Games. The IOC initially ruled that neither team could compete. This incensed the LIHG, which threatened to boycott the Olympics, effectively ending the hockey tournament. The Swiss organizing committee, fearing this eventuality, ignored the IOC's ruling and allowed the AHA team to play in the tournament and the AAU team to march in the opening ceremony. Eventually the parties agreed to allow the AHA team to play but they would receive no official ranking in the Olympic tournament, and they would not be eligible to win a medal. Because this tournament was also the LIHG (forerunner of the IIHF) World Championship, they maintained a fourth place in that ranking.
The tournament was run in a round-robin format with nine teams participating. The Canadians had seven wins and one tie against the team from Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakia also won seven games. The tournament was decided on goal average. Canada outscored their opponents 69:5 (a 13.8 goal average). The Czechoslovakia team outscored their opponents 80:18 (a 4.44 goal average). On the final day the Swiss watched the Czechoslovaks beat the Americans dashing their gold medal aspirations, and then lost their opportunity for silver in a loss to Canada, finishing with a bronze.