The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee today announced the finalists for the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame class of 2019, which includes USA Hockey's John Mayasich, Angela Ruggiero and the 1998 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team.
Fans can cast their votes at TeamUSA.org/Vote from today through Sept. 3 to help determine the class of 2019, which will mark the first class inducted into the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame since 2012.
A product of Eveleth, Minnesota, Mayasich has long been regarded as one of the finest amateur hockey players ever produced in the United States. The two-time Olympic medalist helped lead the 1956 U.S. Olympic Ice Hockey Team to a silver medal in Cortina D'Ampezzo, Italy, tallying 10 points and seven goals in seven games. Mayasich returned to the U.S. Olympic Hockey Team in 1960, where his 12 points (7G, 5A) helped lift Team USA to its first-ever Olympic Ice Hockey gold medal in Squaw Valley, California. Additionally, Mayasich was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 1976.
A four-time Olympic medalist, Ruggiero has played more games (256) in a Team USA uniform than any other ice hockey player in the country's history. Ruggiero helped the U.S. claim the first-ever gold medal awarded in women's ice hockey in the Olympic Winter Games in 1998 as the youngest member of the team and went on to win three other Olympic medals (silver-2002, 2010; bronze-2006). She was named the top defender in the Olympic Winter Games in both 2002 and 2006. Ruggiero was also a 10-time IIHF Women's World Championship medalist, including four gold medals. Additionally, Ruggiero is a member of the IIHF Hall of Fame and the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
The 1998 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team had a powerful impact on the growth of girls and women's hockey in the United States thanks to the success it enjoyed at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. The team twice defeated arch-rival Canada, including by a 3-1 count in the gold-medal game, en route to winning the first gold medal presented in women's ice hockey at an Olympic Winter Games. Behind the guidance of head coach Ben Smith, Team USA finished the tournament undefeated (6-0-0/W-L-T) and outscored its opponents, 36-8. Cammi Granato, Karyn Bye, Katie Kingand Gretchen Ulion, co-led the U.S. with eight points each, while netminders Sarah Tueting and Sara DeCosta each won three games. The 1998 team was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009.