Harvard women’s hockey coach Katey Stone has done it all in the women’s hockey game.
Now, she’s being recognized for her accomplishments with the USA Hockey Distinguished Achievement Award, presented annually since 1991 to a United States citizen who has made hockey his or her profession with outstanding contributions, on or off the ice, to the sport in America.
“When you look back at all the things she’s done, she still has that great passion for the game,” said Pat Kelleher, executive director of USA Hockey. “She’s coached at every level imaginable … she’s coached in the Olympic gold-medal game, she’s coached national championship games, and she’s still 100% committed to making things better for our sport. She still has that passion and drive to be successful and make an impact.”
Stone, who has coached at Harvard since the 1994-95 season, has amassed 494 wins in 27 seasons. She has also coached 24 All-America selections, six winners of the Patty Kazmaier Award — presented annually to the top women’s college hockey player in the nation — and 13 Olympians.
Angela Ruggiero was a four-time All-American under Stone at Harvard, who became the first defenseman to ever win the Patty Kazmaier Award in 2004. Ruggiero, who won an Olympic gold medal in 1998, is a four-time Olympic medalist and was voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015.
“She takes a lot of 18-year-old athletes in college and helps us grow into adults,” Ruggiero said. “The lessons that I learned are still etched into my head and surprisingly it isn’t the hockey lessons. As a former player, I love that she’s getting the spotlight and just a moment in time to pause and reflect on what an outstanding career she has had.”
Stone has led her teams to six ECAC Tournament championships, 11 Beanpot Trophies, 11 NCAA Tournament appearances in the event’s 20-year history, six Frozen Fours, four NCAA title games and an AWCHA National Championship.
Ruggiero played on Stone’s national championship-winning team in 1999.
“When you’re playing sports, you’re supposed to learn life lessons, and you’re supposed to be a better version of yourself because you learn those lessons in a safe environment like hockey,” Ruggiero said. “I think coach Stone has always seen her role as more than a great hockey coach who wants to win games, but also someone who is developing people, so I’m happy to see that she’s getting this recognition.”
Ruggiero fondly recalled her time at Harvard under Stone, and a lesson involving the Charles River, which separates athletic facilities and the academic buildings at the school. Ruggiero said that Stone told her athletes when they cross that bridge, they needed to leave their academics on the other side, and vice-versa.
“She was always good at helping us, as Division I athletes, compartmentalize everything you had on your plate and the stress,” Ruggiero said. “In today’s day and age, when student athletes tend to be more athletes than students, that resonated with me because she gave me permission to be a student.”
Stone has also enjoyed international success throughout an illustrious career. As the first-ever female head coach of a USA Hockey team in the Olympic Games, Stone led the U.S. women to a silver medal during the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
Stone also guided the U.S. Women’s National Team to a gold medal in the 2011 and 2013 IIHF Women’s World Championships, and silver in 2012. She also led the Americans to championships in three Four Nations Cup events.
Ruggiero won a national championship in her first season under Stone’s leadership at Harvard, and she captured a world championship in 2011, her final game with the U.S. Women’s National Team.
“I just had a great experience with her,” Ruggiero said. “It takes a special coach to understand that if you can get the most out of people and let them flourish as individuals, when they collectively come together, it’s a lot stronger than being able to execute on the power play or penalty kill. She left a big legacy, both at Harvard and within USA Hockey.”
Kelleher said that USA Hockey is happy to recognize Stone as its Distinguished Achievement Award winner this year.
“She’s such a deserving recipient of this award because she’s worked at it for so long, and she’s been such a huge part of helping hockey go from a smaller, very regional sport, to a national game,” Kelleher said. “She loves hockey, and cares about her players and the game, and that’s what stands out to me the most, is her love for the game.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.