Angela Ruggiero will be inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame on Dec. 17.
By the dawn of the 1998 Nagano Olympics, the United States women's team had played Canada 13 times in international competition, with Angela Ruggiero and Hayley Wickenheiser getting to know one another quite well.
The United States' best defender often was assigned to deny Canada's top center, regarded as the greatest to play the women's game. The rivalry was one of many elements that brought women's hockey into the international spotlight, beginning with Ruggiero and the United States defeating Wickenheiser and Canada for Olympic gold in '98.
"I lived to play Canada, I lived to play Wickenheiser," Ruggiero said. "When you have a caliber of a player like a Wickenheiser coming down the boards, and she's trying to beat you and you're trying to stop her, that's what you live for. It was a very intense rivalry, like Yankees-Red Sox and some of the best rivalries in sport."