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August 13: Cammi Granato and Angela James
Cammi Granato and Angela James; Female Hockey Players
Hometowns: Downers Grove, IL, and Toronto, Ontario Education: Providence College and Concordia University (Cammi) and Seneca College (Angela)
Born into a hockey family, Catherine Michelle Granato, soon to be known as Cammi, entered the world on March 25, 1971 in Downers Grove, Illinois, a village west of Chicago. The youngest of five children, Cammi was the little sister in a household of brothers, including Tony, who went on to enjoy a fine NHL career. Like her brothers, she was determined to be an elite hockey player, and although the boys insisted she play goal for them, Cammi balked and was steadfast in her determination to become a goal scorer.
Registered on a boys' team at the age of five, Cammi immediately embraced the game and excelled, establishing herself as one of the better players in the area, regardless of gender. In her most fervent dreams, she hoped to one day play for the Chicago Blackhawks. Starring at forward, Granato played on all boys' teams until the age of sixteen. In 1989 Cammi was offered a hockey scholarship at Providence College, and in her inaugural year at the college, she was named freshman player of the year and later, was selected as the Eastern College Athletic Conference's Women's Hockey Player of the Year. In 1992 and 1993, Granato led Providence to league titles. In 93 college games, she scored 135 times and assisted on 110 others for 245 points. While playing at Providence, Cammi became a founding member of the United States Women's National Team, and helped lead the team to a silver medal at the inaugural Women's World Championships in 1990. After graduating from Providence and without any NCAA eligibility remaining, Cammi moved to Montreal to earn her masters degree in sports administration at Concordia University. In 123 games, Granato scored 178 goals and 148 assists for 326 points, and was instrumental in Concordia capturing three consecutive provincial championships. In 1996, she was named USA Women's Player of the Year.
Women's hockey became an official Olympic Sport at the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. Cammi had graduated from Concordia in 1997, and was then able to devote herself to the U.S. Women's National Team. Named team captain, Cammi and her American teammates earned an upset gold medal victory over the favoured Canadians. Cammi was honoured with the opportunity to be the flagbearer at the closing ceremonies at those Olympics. Although invited to attend a New York Islanders' training camp, she declined, choosing instead to contribute to Los Angeles Kings' broadcasts. That choice was abandoned after one season so she could continue her playing career. 2002 saw Cammi captain Team USA at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. The United States took the silver medal after losing a close contest against Canada.
Cammi Granato's international career concluded having played 54 games, scoring 54 goals and 42 assists for 96 points, making her the all-time leading scorer in women's international hockey. During that time, teams on which she played won an Olympic gold medal, Olympic silver, one World Championship and eight silver medals in World Championship tournaments. In 2007, Cammi was awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy for her contributions to hockey in the United States. The next year, Cammi broke the invisible ceiling when she was inducted into the IIHF's Hall of Fame along with Geraldine Heaney and Angela James. That same year, Granato made history by being the first female inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
Her hockey career far from over, Granato was rinkside reporter for NBC's NHL coverage and a colour commentator on NBC's coverage of women's ice hockey at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. She started the Golden Dreams for Children Foundation, providing support for special needs children. She also operates an annual hockey camp for girls during summers in Chicago and is a partner in BelaHockey, a company that creates hockey accessories for girls. Cammi is married to former NHL star Ray Ferraro.
Angela James Angela James, who was dubbed the 'Wayne Gretzky of women's hockey,' was born December 22, 1964 in Toronto, Ontario. James grew up playing road hockey with the boys in her neighbourhood. During that era, it was impossible for Angela to find a women's ice hockey team, so she played on boys' teams, although struggled to get ice time. She played hockey at Seneca College, and led her team to several championships, eventually being honoured with having her number 8 retired by the school.
Beginning in the late-1970s, Angela played in the Ontario Women's Hockey Association, where she dominated. While leading her team to numerous OWHA league and provincial championships, she was the leading scorer in eight seasons and most valuable player in six. Her style was described as a combination of the aggressiveness of Mark Messier combined with the pure goal-scoring talent of Mike Bossy.
In 1990, she was selected to join Canada's team at the inaugural Women's Championship, held in Ottawa, where she led the team to the gold medal with 11 goals in 5 games. She also led the Women's Team to gold medals in 1992 in Tampere, Finland, 1994 in Lake Placid, United States and 1997 in Kitchener, Ontario. In 1996 and 1999, James led Canada to gold medals in the Three Nations Cup. Another gold medal was earned by the James-led Canadian team at the Pacific Rim International tournament.
In a controversial decision, Angela was excluded from Team Canada Women's Team for the 1998 Winter Olympics. Pundits were shocked -- from 1987 until that time, James had been Canada's perennial scoring threat no matter where and when she played. In 2005, Hockey Canada honoured Angela with the Female Breakthrough Award, given for making significant contributions to the promotion and/or development of hockey for girls and women in Canada.
Angela was inducted into both the Black Hockey and Sports Hall of Fame and the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) Hall of Fame in 2006. In 2008, she was one of three women inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Hall of Fame, the first in the Federation's history, joined by Cammi Granato and Geraldine Heaney. Canada's Sports Hall of Fame inducted James in 2009.
A superstar in women's hockey, James has received numerous other career awards and accolades. She won a Youth of the Year Award in 1985 and was recognized by the City of Toronto as one of its Women in Sport Enhancement in 1992. In 2008, the Angela James Bowl was instituted, awarded annually to the leading scorer in the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL). Flemingdon Park Arena was renamed Angela James Arena in 2009.
Following an amendment to its by-laws in 2009, the Hockey Hall of Fame opened its doors to women, and welcomed Angela James in 2010. Today, Angela James is the sports co-ordinator at her alma mater, Seneca College, in Toronto. She also owns and operates the Breakaway Adult Hockey School.