Rangers hiring Angela Ruggiero important for women’s hockey

Angela Ruggiero’s hiring means more than just a new job. 

The Hockey Hall of Famer and Olympian was brought on by the New York Rangers as a hockey operations adviser on Aug. 25, taking her already illustrious career to the next level and adding female representation to a league that lacks it. 

New York Rangers

  • Projected Cap Hit: $82,771,582
  • Projected Cap Space: $728,418
  • Current Cap Space: $728,418
  • Roster: 22/23

Rangers hire Angela Ruggiero

Ruggiero enters the Rangers organization with a hefty resume. The four-time Olympic medalist won gold in the 1998 Nagano Games when she was 18-years-old and went on to secure silver medals in 2002 and 2010 and a bronze in 2006. 

Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015, Ruggiero has excelled through hard work at every stage of her hockey life and found a way to have longevity in the sport even if it wasn’t necessarily on the ice. 

“I think more you can recognize that your sports career will come to an end –– and none of us know, we could blow our knees out or our shoulders and be done at any given moment,” Ruggiero said in an Oct. 2022 interview.

“The sooner you can recognize that while you’re still crushing it, on the top of the podium, when everyone wants to help and support you, while people will take your calls, while the world still loves you.”

Ruggiero never let the world forget about her

OLYMPICS: Womens Hockey-Canada vs USA
Feb 25, 2010; Vancouver, BC, CANADA; Angela Ruggiero (4) pass the puck against Canada during the womens hockey gold medal match in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics at Canada Hockey Place. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The former defenseman tore it up during her four seasons in the NCAA with Harvard University, and helped bring home a National Championship in 1999. Ruggiero earned the Patty Kazmaier Award –– given to the top women’s player in collegiate hockey –– in her senior 2003-04 season where she posted 55 points (25 goals, 30 assists) in 32 games. 

Serving as captain from 2002-2004, Ruggiero set a standard of excellence for the Crimson program and it followed her as she entered the pros. 

Ruggiero retired from hockey in 2011 after competing with the Montreal Axion of the NWHL, the Minnesota Whitecaps of the WWHL and the Boston Blades of the CWHL. She also had great success at the international level, winning four gold and six silver medals at the IIHF Women’s World Championship while playing a total 256 games for Team USA.  

There’s always been a bigger purpose to Ruggiero’s unwavering commitment to her craft as she quickly became a role model that showed female athletes can forge their own path within a male dominated sports world. 

“The small hand I had to play in normalizing playing, and getting more girls to play. And boys, by the way, to see female role models,” Ruggiero said. “I have two young boys who turn on a women’s sports event and it’s just completely normal to them.” 

Beyond the fact that Ruggiero is deeply qualified for a hockey operations job and will be able to lean on her own experiences to aid the Rangers this season, seeing a woman hold a powerful, front office job in the NHL is important. 

For young girls to now see that you can not only love and play hockey but also build a career around it is something that many generations did not have. Ruggiero is a small part in defining a new norm and offering a new voice and perspective that differs from most in the room. 

“Sports is a very visible platform so to have boys and girls on TV, men and women on TV, believe me, boys and girls are watching,” Ruggiero said.