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by Staff Writer / New York Islanders
Three-Time U.S. Olympian and Director of Project Hope Among 15 Finalists for Top Amateur Athlete Award

Director of Charles B. Wang Ice Hockey Project Hope and three-time U.S. Olympic women's ice hockey player, Angela Ruggiero was named as one of 15 finalists for the James E. Sullivan Award, presented annually by the Amateur Athletic Union to the outstanding amateur athlete in the United States.

The award is based on accomplishments in the 2006 calendar year, during which time Ruggiero most notably helped lead the U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team to the bronze medal at the Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy.

At the Olympics, she was the tournament's top-scoring defenseman, producing two goals and four assists in five games. One of just four U.S. women's team members to have played on three Olympic teams, Ruggiero anchored the team's defense that allowed just five goals in as many games and posted three shutouts.

For her efforts, she was named the top defenseman by the directorate, marking the fourth consecutive time she won the award (2002 Olympics, 2004 and 2005 International Ice Hockey Federation Women's World Championships).

Later in the year, Ruggiero helped Team USA earn the silver medal at the Four Nations Cup in Kitchener, Ont.

The Sullivan Award winner will be decided by an online poll at (one-third of the overall vote) and the votes of officials from various sporting organizations, including the AAU, the U.S. Olympic Committee and NCAA Division I institutions (two-thirds of the overall vote). The award will be presented at a ceremony in New York on April 11.

As director of Project Hope an organization founded by Islanders owner Charles Wang that provides young Chinese athletes with access to educational opportunities Ruggiero has organized the first ever Project Hope Cup on Long Island and recently spent time in China coaching youngsters. You can also catch Ruggiero starring alongside Donald Trump on NBC's Å“The Apprentice.Â?

The other 14 finalists are: Brady Quinn (football), Joey Cheek (speedskating), Sasha Cohen (figure skating), Troy Dumais (diving), Chris Leak (football), Jessica Long (paralympic swimming), Joakim Noah (basketball), Apolo Ohno, (speedskating), Candace Parker (basketball), Michael Phelps (swimming), Troy Smith (football), Hannah Teter (snowboarding), Joe Warren (wrestling) and Bill Zadick (wrestling).

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