As Innsbruck was a replacement host city for Denver, it used the same venues as in 1964: the Olympia-eisstadion and the Messehalle. There were 12 teams entered in 1976. As in the past three Winter Olympics, they were separated into an A Pool (medal pool) and a B Pool (consolation pool). There was no seeding into the pools this time, as in 1968 and 1972. Rather the 12 teams all played one game in a qualifying round, with the six winners composing the A Pool, and the losers the B Pool. One notable absence in 1976 was that of Sweden, normally an ice hockey power. They had chosen to forfeit after many of their top players had recently joined the ranks of the professionals.