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Angela Ruggiero
While there is so much to say about her as a hockey player, the legacy Harvard's Angela Ruggiero hopes to leave is one of service and commitment to mankind.

Where does one begin to describe Angela Ruggerio? U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Coach Ben Smith says of her "as a defenseman, she probably has no equal in the sport."

She's won Olympic and World Championship ice hockey gold medals, and is the first female non-goalie in North America to play professionally, competing for the Central Hockey League's Tulsa Oilers in 2005.

Ruggerio has also authored a book, Breaking the Ice, which battles misconceptions about her sport and serves to reach young women through athletics, and graduated cum laude with a government degree from Harvard.

She's also on "The Apprentice," sparring with Penn Wharton School graduate Donald Trump. She was selected over other Olympians in an NBC promotion last winter.

After three Olympic medals (including the gold in the inaugural event in Nagano, Japan, in 1998), you begin to wonder what's next in store for her next 26 years.

One of the greatest players women's ice hockey has ever known is now working hard to spread the sport -- and its life lessons -- as far and wide as she possibly can. Three of her four listed hobbies on The Apprentice website are traveling, coaching hockey and volunteering. Going to China to assess the sport's health and teach it to Chinese youth is clearly a labor of love.

"What Project Hope will ultimately do," Ruggiero said, "is create a blueprint that can be followed to develop hockey in other non-traditional hockey countries. The first phase is to develop scholarship opportunities here for Chinese children, while also building rinks and coaching clinics in mainland China.

"[Islanders owner Charles Wang] has invested a lot of his own money to get the project moving. The participation of our corporate and community partners -- as well as the Chinese government -- will be crucial to seeing the project reach its full potential."

It's not the first time Ruggiero has traveled far to help children. In the summer of 2004, she went to Uganda as an Athlete Ambassador for the Right To Play organization. The goal was to implement a sporting program for children in an effort to bridge communities and allow the U.N. and the Red Cross to provide both health education and vaccinations.

Not exacly a surprise from someone whose favorite quote -- "Be the change you wish to see in the world" -- comes from Gandhi.

Harvard coach Katey Stone says "as truly talented a hockey player as Angela is, it is her genuine humanitarianism that sets her apart."

Ruggiero also has her book which was written to inspire and encourage young women to be bold, confident and lead by example.

"I'm so lucky," says Ruggiero. "People have given me so many things in my lifetime, especially through hockey, and I feel like I can use hockey as a vehicle to give back to others ... I guess it's in my nature -- my mom taught me that."

— Brett Hoover

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