COLORADO SPRINGS, USA – 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 on Wednesday.
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, California, but also spent time growing up in Harper Woods, Michigan. "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.