Of the five Canada Cup tournaments, this is the only one in which a team went undefeated, with two ties. Canada compiled a record of six wins and two ties in eight games. The first tie was a stunning 2-2 result with underdog Finland on the opening day of the tournament, who got spectacular goaltending from Markus Ketterer. Finland surprised many by finishing in third place in the round robin; the first time they had ever qualified for the semi-finals in the history of the Canada Cup. The Americans were also very strong, as they iced their best international line-up to date. They went a perfect 5-0 against European competition in the tournament, while losing three times to Canada. The team representing the USSR was relatively weak compared to past tournaments, it did not have many of its top stars due to severe political turmoil at home, many players declining to play for the team, and purposely left off the roster (such as Pavel Bure, Vladimir Konstantinov, etc.) for fears of defection.  It was not known until weeks before the start of the tournament that they would even send a team. This was the final major senior event in which a team representing the USSR would play.
Game 1 of the final is best remembered for the check on Wayne Gretzky by American defenseman Gary Suter, which knocked the Canadian captain out of the tournament and forced him to miss the first month of the NHL season. Game 2 was tied until late in the third period when Steve Larmer scored the tournament winner on a short-handed breakaway.