Three-time U.S. Olympian will develop hockey and education programs in China and on Long Island
The Islanders today announced the appointment of Angela Ruggiero, a three-time member of the USA Women's Olympic Hockey Team, as Director of Charles B. Wang Ice Hockey "Project Hope," a new Islanders program aimed at providing young Chinese athletes with access to higher education. Ruggiero will also assist former Islanders player Steve Webb in developing hockey programs for boys and girls on Long Island.
Ruggiero, a native of California, brings over ten years of National Team experience to the Islanders, as well as a community service background.
In 1998, Ruggiero was the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic Team that won the first Olympic gold medal ever awarded in women's ice hockey at the Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. She was also a member of the U.S. Olympic Team that won a silver medal in Salt Lake City at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Most recently, she and her teammates took home a bronze medal in Torino in 2006.
Ruggiero graduated cum laude from Harvard University in 2004. She was a four-time All-American and four-time finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, presented annually by USA Hockey to the top player in NCAA Division I women's ice hockey. She won the Kazmaier award her senior year and was ranked as the #1 Female Player in the World in 2003 by The Hockey News. She finished her collegiate career with 243 points (91 goals, 152 assists) in 127 games. In November 2005, she released her autobiography, "Breaking the Ice." In January, 2007, she will also be one of 18 contestants on NBC's "The Apprentice."
In recent years, Ruggiero has worked with non-profit organizations such as Right to Play, The Women's Sports Foundation, and TeamsofAngels.com.
Ruggiero will work closely with Islanders Senior Vice President Mike Milbury to help develop and expand "Project Hope." They will work with local and provincial officials in the cities of Harbin and Qiqihar, Heilongjiang Province, China. This unprecedented multi-faceted education initiative provides young Chinese athletes with access to higher education. Ruggiero will also work with Webb, the recently named Director of Grass Roots Hockey, to create the best hockey programs for children on Long Island.
"I am very excited to work with Charles Wang, Mike Milbury and the Islanders organization as part of this truly humanitarian effort," said Ruggiero. "I hope that I can use my background and energy to make a difference in the lives of many children, both globally and locally."