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The Harvard women’s hockey team has a knack for turning a potential loss into a win for the team.
While the loss of Angela Ruggiero ’02-’04 to graduation was expected at the end of last year, the Crimson did not expect to lose assistant coach John O’Donnell from the staff. Despite the news, Harvard coach Katey Stone knew just what to do and called former Ruggiero linemate Jamie Hagerman ’03.
“When I found out that [O’Donnell] wasn’t going to be coaching anymore, 10 minutes later I picked up the phone,” Stone said. “It was a no brainer for me.”
O’Donnell’s departure—due to a marriage and a relocation—left another hole in Harvard’s defense, and Hagerman was a perfect fit to fill the void.
Playing the Coach
As a player, Hagerman was respected by teammates and opponents alike as one of the biggest competitors to take the ice.
Since her decision to take over as assistant coach, not much has changed.
Hagerman played for the Crimson team all four years that she attended Harvard, spearheading a renowned Crimson defense while scoring 80 points in 127 contests. Hagerman also served as captain both her junior and senior years.
“She is a put-the-team-first kind of player,” said tri-captain Nicole Corriero.
“She always put team in front of her own personal interests,” Corriero added. “She was my host on my recruiting visit and she was definitely one of the reasons I came here.”
Hagerman spent her only year away from Harvard in Toronto playing in the National Women’s Hockey League for the Brampton Thunder while training for the U.S. National Team.
“Basically I was there to keep myself in shape for the ongoing processes of making the [U.S.] National team,” Hagerman said.
After returning to Boston in May, Hagerman felt she wasn’t putting in the necessary time commitment to be National Team caliber.
“To do my job and train was tough, and my training was suffering because I wasn’t putting as much in,” Hagerman said.
“I knew that something needed to change.”
Enter Stone, looking for a mentor for the Crimson’s blueliners.
“It was perfect timing, but unexpected,” Hagerman said. “It was one of the best things to happen to me so far.”
One of Our Own
Stone jumped at the opportunity to employ Hagerman not only because she knew Hagerman already has a tremendous investment in the program and wants it to succeed, but also because Hagerman is familiar with Stone’s style of coaching and the expectations and standards she holds for her players.
“I think Jamie has a great future as a college coach,” Stone said.
Hagerman was worried that her old friends and teammates would have trouble adjusting to her new status with the team, and while many on the team say that Hagerman still remains a close friend, they have much more respect for her now as a coach, thanks in part to her National Team experience.
“It’s just a given that she fits in,” said former teammate and senior forward Kat Sweet.
And now that she has made that transition back into Harvard life, Hagerman is truly happy to have returned. It was hard for her to spend her first year so far away from her best friends and teammates at a time when she needed their support the most.
“[Getting to be with my friends and teammates] is one of the greatest things about being back,” Hagerman said. “They make me smile and laugh.”
Hagerman feels that she can bring a new perspective to this Harvard team as well. Having competed against many of the players who are still in the league, she holds a unique insight into their strengths and weaknesses along with an intimate knowledge of her own team.
Despite this new commitment to the Harvard women’s hockey team, she is still aggressively pursuing her own goals. Hagerman is still currently training for the U.S. National Team. She is spending this week in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Both Stone and assistant coach Claudia Asano ’99 have been understanding of her conflicts.
“They know my dream and know what I want to get accomplished, and they are trying to provide me with the best opportunities,” Hagerman said. “I couldn’t be up here [in New York] if it wasn’t for them.”
But while Hagerman continues to pursue her own personal dreams of making the U.S. National Team, she says that Harvard hockey is her true No. 1 priority and what comes first in her life right now.
Although Hagerman has enough priorities on her horizon to worry about without focusing on her long-range career goals, she says that coaching is definitely something she foresees herself doing in the future.
Hagerman attributes this passion directly to her mentor, Stone.
“I wouldn’t have gone [to Harvard] if it wasn’t for Coach Stone,” Hagerman said. “She was the reason I came. If I can have just a portion of the success she has had, I would be a lucky person.”
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