NBC has announced that 2004 Patty Kazmaier winner and Harvard graduate Angela Ruggiero will join 17 other candidates selected to compete on season six of “The Apprentice.” The season will begin in January and will be filmed entirely in Southern California.
Last February, Mark Burnett, creator and executive producer, allowed viewers to choose one of 12 U.S. Olympic athletes competing in the 2006 Olympic Winter Games for a spot on the show. Ruggiero won the voting held through NBCOlympics.com.
“The results are in and I’m thrilled with the viewer’s decision,” said host Donald Trump. “We’ll see if Angela can ice the competition as we take the boardroom to the West Coast.”
“It’s an honor to have been selected by America – I’ll definitely be bringing my Olympic spirit and competitive edge to the game,” said Ruggiero.
“I’m delighted to have an Olympian in our cast, especially one who went to Harvard,” said Burnett, executive producer, “The Apprentice.” “It’s a unique hiring opportunity for Donald Trump if she’s lucky enough to win. But in order to win, she’ll need to be the best of the best as she battles against many motivated and talented job applicants.”
In 1998, Ruggiero became 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 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. She subsequently was a member of the U.S. Olympic Team that won a silver medal in Salt Lake City in the 2002 Olympic Winter Games and most recently, she and her teammates took home a bronze medal in Torino in 2006. Ruggiero was chosen to be one of eight athletes to carry the tattered World Trade Center flag into the Opening Ceremony of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games.
On January 8, 2005, Ruggiero made history when she became the first female non-goaltender to play significant minutes in a U.S. men’s professional hockey game. She joined her brother, goaltender Bill Ruggiero, playing for the Tulsa Oilers of the Central Hockey League. She had one assist in 13 minutes of ice time. After the game, the Hockey Hall of Fame requested Angela’s and Bill’s sweaters, because they became the first brother and sister to play together in a North American professional game.
Ruggiero graduated cum laude from Harvard University with a B.A. in government 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 award her senior year and was named one of the top 16 female athletes in the world by ESPN.com in 2004.
Ruggiero is active in Right to Play, a non-governmental organization that aims to enrich the lives of children through sport. She traveled to Uganda for three weeks in 2004 for Right to Play, observing and helping to educate children at play around the country. For one week each summer, she teaches at her All-American Girls Hockey School at the St. Clair Shores Civic Arena in St. Clair, Mich. She started the school in 2002 to encourage girls to participate in ice hockey. Ruggiero also helped launch the website and raise funds for Teams of Angels and momsteam.com, charities that focus on creating a safer youth sports experience. In November 2005, she released her autobiography, “Breaking the Ice.”