Angela Ruggiero singles out 1998 Olympic team in Hockey Hall of Fame speech (video)

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Angela Ruggiero thanked teammates, her family, even the rival Canadians in her seven-minute Hockey Hall of Fame induction speech on Monday night.

And she singled out one group of players near the end.

“Especially the ’98 team,” Ruggiero said of the first U.S. Olympic women’s hockey team, which won gold in Nagano. “Again, I was 18. I didn’t know what was going on, but we were all rookies. And I learned what it meant to be a team athlete back when I was just a young age. Thank you. This is for you guys.”

Ruggiero, who was introduced by 1998 captain Cammi Granato at the Hall of Fame ceremony in Toronto, was the single player on the 1998 Olympic roster born in the 1980s. She played on four Olympic teams, earning two silvers and one bronze after that 1998 gold.

Ruggiero is now an International Olympic Committee member.

Women’s players were first inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010, beginning with Granato and Canadian trailblazer Angela James.

Another Canadian, two-time Olympic medalist Geraldine Heaney, was inducted in 2013.

Other Olympic medalists Nicklas Lidstrom (Sweden), Sergei Fedorov (Russia), Chris Pronger (Canada) and Phil Housley (U.S.) were also inducted Monday.

Fedorov’s speech Monday included a memorable quote about playing for the late Soviet coach Viktor Tikhonov, the losing coach of the Miracle on Ice game.

“If you can imagine lifting 27 tons in two hours, that would be only one practice,” Fedorov said of playing for Tikhonov at CSKA Moscow, before Fedorov moved to the NHL.

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