|Host countries|| Canada|
|Dates||August 26 – September 14, 1996|
|Venue(s)||9 (in 9 host cities)|
|Champions||United States (1st title)|
|Goals scored||140 (7.37 per match)|
|Scoring leader(s)||Brett Hull (11 pts)|
Inaugural World Cup of Hockey
The first edition of the Cup featured eight teams divided into two groups. The European Group, whose games were all played in Europe, included the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, and Sweden. The North American Group played in North American cities and included Canada, Russia, Slovakia, and the United States. Some of the best players in the world were missing in the tournament, some either declined invitation, such as Dominik Hašek stating "I would love to play in (the competition), but the timing is bad", or because of injuries, as Pavel Bure was injured during a Russia-USA exhibition game in Detroit.
After the teams played a three-game group stage, the top team in each group advanced to the semi-finals, while the second and third place teams played cross-over quarter-finals. The quarter-finals and semi-finals were single elimination games. The championship final was a best-of-three. All playoff games were played in North America.
In the biggest surprise of the tournament, Germany defeated Czech Republic 7–1 in the European Group, which eliminated the Czechs and sent the Germans into the quarter-finals. In the biggest game of the North American Group, USA defeated Canada 5–3 to finish first and get a bye to the semi-finals. In the semis, they defeated Russia 5–2, while Canada beat Sweden 3–2 on Theoren Fleury's goal at 19:47 of the second overtime period, ending the longest game in international hockey history.
The tournament did see some controversy after the Canada-Russia game in Vancouver was played when Sweden's coach Kent Forsberg said he believed "Canada cheated its way to victory" through help of Canadian NHL referees that saw two goals disallowed and several controversial penalties for Russia. The Russian's coach Boris Mikhailov echoed a similar sentiment after the game saying "It was the referees' victory", as Team Russia had felt there was "biased officiating".
In the best-of-three final, Canada won the first game, in Philadelphia, 4–3 in overtime. Then the USA recorded a memorable pair of 5–2 victories in Montreal to win the series. In the third and decisive game, the US received spectacular goaltending from tournament MVP Mike Richter and rallied from a 2–1 deficit in the third period by scoring four goals in the final 3:18 of the game. Tony Amonte scored the game-winning goal.
- North American pool and playoffs
- Corel Centre – Ottawa, Canada
- CoreStates Center – Philadelphia, U.S.
- General Motors Place – Vancouver, Canada
- Madison Square Garden – New York City, U.S.
- Molson Centre – Montreal, Canada
- European pool
- Garmisch Olympia Stadium – Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
- Globen – Stockholm, Sweden
- Helsinki Ice Hall – Helsinki, Finland
- Sportovní hala – Prague, Czech Republic
Exhibition Games (incomplete list)
- Russia 5–4 Finland (Moscow)
- Sweden 2–3 Russia (Stockholm)
- Germany 2–4 Russia (Landshut)
- Canada 4–4 Russia (Calgary)
- United States 4–6 Russia (Detroit) 
- United States 1���3 Canada (Vancouver)
- Canada 5–7 United States (San Jose)
- Slovakia 4–7 Canada (Edmonton)
- Slovakia 2–9 United States (Providence)
North American pool
|United States||3||3||0||0||19||8||+11||6||Advanced to semifinals|
|Canada||3||2||1||0||11||10||+1||4||Advanced to quarterfinals|
- August 29, Vancouver: Russia 3–5 Canada
- August 31, Montreal: Slovakia 4–7 Russia
- August 31, Philadelphia: Canada 3–5 United States
- September 1, Ottawa: Canada 3–2 Slovakia
- September 2, New York City: Russia 2–5 United States
- September 3, New York City: United States 9–3 Slovakia
|Sweden||3||3||0||0||14||3||+11||6||Advanced to semifinals|
|Finland||3||2||1||0||17||11||+6||4||Advanced to quarterfinals|
- August 26, Stockholm: Germany 1–6 Sweden
- August 27, Helsinki: Finland 7–3 Czech Republic
- August 28, Helsinki: Germany 3–8 Finland
- August 29, Prague: Sweden 3–0 Czech Republic
- August 31, Garmisch: Czech Republic 1–7 Germany
- September 1, Stockholm: Finland 2–5 Sweden
|Quarterfinal 1 (September 5)|
|Quarterfinal 2 (September 6)|
|Semifinals||Finals (best of three)|
- September 5, Montreal: Germany 1–4 Canada
- September 6, Ottawa: Russia 5–0 Finland
- September 7, Philadelphia: Canada 3–2 Sweden (2OT)
- September 8, Ottawa: Russia 2–5 United States
- September 10, Philadelphia: Canada 4–3 United States (OT)
- September 12, Montreal: United States 5–2 Canada
- September 14, Montreal: Canada 2–5 United States
- Leading Goaltender: Curtis Joseph, Canada (2.31 GAA)
Trophies and awards
- Mike Richter, USA
- Goaltender: Mike Richter, USA
- Defence: Calle Johansson, Sweden; Chris Chelios, USA
- Forwards: Brett Hull, USA; Mats Sundin, Sweden; John LeClair, USA
- World Cup of Hockey
- List of international ice hockey competitions featuring NHL players
- 2004 World Cup of Hockey
- International Ice Hockey Federation
- Summit Series
- National Hockey League
- "CNN/SI - Nagano Olympics - Athlete profile: Dominik Hasek - February 3, 1998". Sports Illustrated. 1998-02-03. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- "Swedish Coach Accuses Canada Of Winning Unfairly". Apnewsarchive.com. 1996-08-31. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- "15th Anniversary Memories: 1996 World Cup of Hockey - Philadelphia Flyers - News". Flyers.nhl.com. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- "Cup Runneth Over For Canada Disallowed Goals Wreck Russians" NY Daily News by Frank Brown, August 30, 1996
- "Swedish Coach Accuses Canada of Winning Unfairly". www.apnewsarchive.com. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
- Fleury, Theo; Kirstie McLellan Day (2009). Playing With Fire. HarperCollins. pp. 133–139. ISBN 978-1-55468-239-3.
- "Ľ189/14/Sports". Friends-partners.org. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- Joe Lapointe (1996-08-18). "Superpowers Lace Up To Take On the World". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- Joe Lapointe (1996-08-29). "Matchup of Power Players". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- Joe Lapointe (1996-08-25). "Russians Mix and Match for World Cup". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- "Canada beats U.S. in World Cup of Hockey competition". Deseret News. August 21, 1996. p. D5. Retrieved June 13, 2014.
- "Spirited Victory for U.S. High Intensity: The Hits Just Keep on Coming in World Cup of Hockey Exhibition". San Jose Mercury News. August 22, 1996. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
- "Team USA routs Slovakia in last tuneup for new tournament". The Washington Times. August 26, 1996. Retrieved June 13, 2014.
- Canadian Press (1996-09-18). "No Canadian all-stars chosen". Retrieved 2020-02-04.