USA Hockey: December 28, 2011
Angela Ruggiero Announces Retirement
Four-Time Olympian Represented Team USA More Than Any Other Ice Hockey Player
Angela Ruggiero, a four-time Olympian and one of the greatest women’s ice hockey players in history, officially announced her retirement from the U.S. Women’s National Team Program today.
She competed 16 years for the United States and has played more games (256) in a Team USA uniform than any other ice hockey player in the country’s history. In total, she finished her career with the U.S. Women’s National Team Program having recorded 208 points, including 67 goals and 141 assists.
“I feel honored and privileged to have represented the USA program over the past 16 years,” said Ruggiero, who is a native of Simi Valley, Calif., but also spent time growing up in Harper Woods, Mich. “USA Hockey will always be a part of me and I will cherish the experiences and memories with this team. Thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way. I am now looking forward to my next career, as well as continuing my work representing the athletes of the world through my roles on the International Olympic Committee and the United States Olympic Committee.”
Ruggiero, 31, a star player on all four U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Teams to date, won a gold medal in 1998 as the youngest member (18 years old) of the team; a silver medal in 2002 where she was named the tournament’s top defenseman; a bronze medal in 2006 where she tied for the lead among tournament defensemen with six points (2-4) and was named the tournament’s top defenseman for a second time; and another silver medal at the 2010 Olympics where she was named to the media all-star team.
Ruggiero, who was the top-ranked female hockey player in the world by The Hockey News in 2003, represented Team USA in 10 IIHF Women’s World Championships (gold-2005, 2008-09, 2011; silver-1997, 1999-01, 2004, 2007). In 2005, she scored the shootout goal that gave Team USA its first-ever gold medal in the IIHF Women’s World Championship. She was named the tournament’s top defenseman four times (2001, 2004-05, 2008) and earned a spot on the media all-star team on four occasions (2004-05, 2007, 2009).
USA Hockey’s Bob Allen Women’s Player of the Year in 2003 and 2004, Ruggiero graduated cum laude from Harvard University in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in government. She was an NCAA First Team Academic All-American in 2004 and also earned the NCAA’s Top VIII Award that year as one of the top eight student-athletes in the entire NCAA. ESPN.com also named her one of the top-16 female athletes in the world in 2004.
Ruggiero accumulated 253 points (96-157) in her four-year career (1998-2000/2002-04) at Harvard to rank sixth all-time at the University and first among defensemen. The four-time NCAA All-American captured the prestigious Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award in 2004, an honor bestowed annually on the top player in NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey. Ruggiero was a finalist for the honor in each of her four collegiate campaigns.
Ruggiero made history on Jan. 28, 2005, when she and her brother, Bill, competed for the Central Hockey League’s Tulsa Oilers, becoming the first-ever brother-sister tandem to play in a professional hockey game in North America. In that contest, she also became the first female non-goalie to play in a professional hockey game in North America.
Off the ice, Ruggerio, who earned a master’s degree in sport management from the University of Minnesota in January 2011, has inspired the same leadership she created on the ice. The United States Olympic Committee board member was elected (eight-year term) to a highly regarded position as a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athlete’s Commission in 2010. The commission serves as a consultative body and is the link between active athletes and the International Olympic Committee. She was later appointed to the IOC Evaluation Commission to examine potential host cities for the 2018 Olympic Games and is currently a member of the IOC’s Coordination Commission for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, and the IOC Entourage Commission.
In addition, Ruggiero is the founder of the All American Girls’ Hockey School; the author of “Breaking the Ice,” her inspirational autobiography; and the former director of the New York Islanders’ Project Hope – an organization that provides young Chinese athletes with access to educational opportunities. In 2007, she appeared in the sixth season of Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice” on NBC. Her charitable efforts are far-reaching and include involvement with the ProSports MVP Olympic Heroes Tour, Right to Play, and momsteam.com.
NOTES: Ruggiero met with members of the U.S. Women’s National Team Program earlier today in Blaine, Minn., to inform them of her decision to retire … Ruggiero will participate in a media teleconference tomorrow at 11 a.m. ET to address members of the news media.
What They Are Saying About Angela Ruggiero
“Angela’s career is unmatched and while she’s an extraordinary athlete, she’s equally as extraordinary of a human being. While her career as a player for our national program is now complete, we know she’ll continue to be a major contributor to the continued advancement of not only hockey, but the Olympic movement, across the world.”
Dave Ogrean, Executive Director, USA Hockey
“For some players it’s safe to say that once the player retires, he or she will be inducted to a Hall of Fame. Angela Ruggiero is one of those players. I can not find a better comparison than the one between Angela and the most superior defenseman of all time on the male side in international hockey – Vyacheslav Fetisov. Having taken part in all four Olympics 1998-2010, with medals in each of them; winning four IIHF Worlds golds; and 13 individual awards, she has not only been the best defenseman in the last 15 years, Angela Ruggiero has defined this era of women’s hockey.”
– René Fasel, President, International Ice Hockey Federation
“Congratulations to Angela. I know Angela will be a star at anything she does as she takes this next step in her life. She is a leader and a great addition to any team. We wish her lots of luck and success.”
– Donald Trump
“Angela has been a tremendous ambassador for women’s ice hockey. Her impact on the game has far exceeded her accomplishments on the ice. We want to wish Angela the very best as she takes this next step in her life and thank her for her unrelenting dedication to USA Hockey. She will be missed.”
– Katey Stone, Head Coach, 2011-12 U.S. Women’s National Team & Harvard Univ. Women’s Ice Hockey Team
“Athletes need to be at the heart of the Olympics to make sure the Games in particular and the movement in general properly cater to their needs. With someone as dedicated and hard working as Angela representing their cause the ‘athletes’ voice’ is in safe hands. We congratulate her on an exceptional career on the playing field and look forward to her continued efforts on behalf of the Olympic Movement.”
– Jacques Rogge, President, International Olympic Committee
“I remember being on the ice with her for her first shift in a Team USA uniform. I was taking the draw and I looked back and there was Angela with a huge smile, so excited to play. And that never changed throughout her career. She lit up the lockerroom with her infectious laugh and spirit, and on the ice always played with the strength and edge that made her so dominant.”
– Cammi Granato, Ruggiero Teammate
“Angela is a tremendous ambassador both for sport and for Team USA. While excelling both athletically and academically, she has become an inspiration and a role model for a new generation of female athletes. We salute and congratulate her on an unrivaled career on the ice and look forward to working with her as she continues to expand her role within the worldwide Olympic Movement.”
– Scott Blackmun, Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Olympic Committee
“Angela has been a terrific role model and is someone that has positively influenced the sport of ice hockey, not only in the United States, but across the world.”
– Bob Nicholson, President, Hockey Canada
- Four-time Olympic medalist in women’s ice hockey
- Inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame as part of the 1998 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team, which won the first gold medal in women’s ice hockey
- All-Time Leader in Games Played for Team USA
- Member of Harvard University women’s ice hockey team that captured 1999 NCAA national championship
- Earned Directorate Award as Top Defenseman at IIHF Women’s World Championships (2008, 2005, 2004, 2001)
- Directorate Award as Top Defenseman at the Olympic Winter Games (2006, 2002)
- Ranked one of Top 16 Female Athletes in the World by ESPN.com (2004)
- NCAA First Team Academic All-American (2004)
- NCAA Top VIII Award as one of the top eight student-athletes in the entire NCAA (2004)
- Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award (2004)
- NCAA National Strength and Conditioning Association Athlete of the Year (2004)
- Four-time NCAA All-American (2004)
- Ivy League Player of the Year (2004)
- Harvard MVP (2004, 2003, 2001)
- USA Hockey Bob Allen Women’s Player of the Year (2004, 2003)
- United States Olympic Committee Hockey Player of the Year (2003)
- Named Best Female Hockey Player in the World by The Hockey News (2003)
- Ranked Top Defenseman in the World by Globe and Mail (2003)
- Wheelchair Charities Inc. Female Athlete of the Year (2009)