Angela James has been called "the first superstar of modern women's hockey". She has been hailed as a pioneer who brought the women's game into the mainstream.
The Toronto native had a reputation as a big, tough and talented player who could score goals. As a result, she also drew comparisons to Mark Messier of the NHL. In 1990, James scored 11 goals in five games at the first world championship in women's hockey (held in Ottawa), leading the Canadian team to its first gold medal. She also led the women's team to the world championship title in 1992 (Tampere, Finland), 1994 (Lake Placid, US) and 1997 (Kitchener, ON.)
An eight-time scoring champion and six-time most valuable player during her senior career, James has been honoured by several organizations. She was named Toronto's Youth of the Year in 1985. In 1992, James was presented the city's Women in Sport Enhancement Award. Hockey Canada named her the 2005 recipient of its Female Hockey Breakthrough Award.
The Flemingdon Park arena was renamed the Angela James Arena in 2009. The Canadian Women's Hockey League presents the Angela James Bowl to its leading scorer each season.
James has been inducted into several Halls of Fame, including the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 2005, and the Black Hockey and Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.
After earning a diploma in Recreation Facilities Management from Seneca College, James was hired by the school as a sports programmer in 1985. She continues to work for Seneca and is now a senior sports coordinator at its King campus.