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An Olympic Afternoon

by Christine Hill / Dallas Stars

The Texas Amateur Hockey Association (TAHA) and the Dallas Stars collaborated to create a unique experience on March 9th for female hockey players. Angela Ruggiero, three-time U. S. Olympic medallist in women’s hockey, took some time out of her rigorous training schedule for the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team to help girls and women of all ages and abilities improve their hockey skills.

Just before the Dallas Stars game vs. the Colorado Avalanche, Angela ran a hockey clinic at American Airlines Center. With over 45 participants ranging in age from 5 to 40 years, hockey has proven to be more than just a man’s sport in Dallas. Players from the Texas Attackand Texas Blaze Associations, competitive all-girl travel teams, participated in the clinic along with some beginners in hockey and some adults with up to 10-years of hockey experience.

John Higgins from the Dallas Stars helped coordinate the event with TAHA and American Airlines Center.

“Hockey is a growing sport among female athletes, with specific programs designed for girls getting stronger every season and more women joining adult leagues each year,” he said. “We’re excited to have an athlete of Angela’s caliber partner with us on this event. Her commitment to growing the sport among girls and women across the country is outstanding, and she is a true ambassador of the game.”

After the on-ice clinic, the Dallas Stars and TAHA hosted a special Meet and Greet with the Olympian for the participants and their families. At the podium Angela shared some of her philosophies on life and sports, speaking candidly about her experiences in education, business and hockey.

Every participant got the chance to have their picture taken with Angela along with getting their favorite Olympic memorabilia autographed. Some lucky players even received individual evaluations and advice on their hockey skills.

Kayla Sullivan, a 14-year old Dallas native currently playing on the Girls U 16 team at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, was in town on spring break and had the chance to participate in the clinic. When asked about the event she said, “It was inspirational to hear how she worked her way up to become an Olympian, so I can try to follow in her footsteps.”

In addition to winning three Olympic medals (Gold in 1998, Silver in 2002 and Bronze in 2006), Angela graduated from Harvard University, participated in the TV show “Celebrity Apprentice,” worked for the New York Islanders, is in the Hockey Hall of Fame and is currently training for the 2010 Olympics.

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