Laila Edwards: Black Woman Plays For US National Hockey Team For The First Time In Historic Achievement

by Gee NY

Laila Edwards made history as the first Black woman to join the U.S. senior national hockey team, hitting the ice against Canada in a recent rivalry series game.

The 19-year-old Wisconsin sophomore, standing tall at 6 feet, 1 inch, showcased her skills on a forward line with Olympian Abby Roque and Badgers teammate Britta Curl in Los Angeles.

Expressing both pride and a desire for greater diversity, Edwards acknowledged the significance of her achievement, stating:

“It’s an honor to be the first Black woman on the national team, but this team’s been around for a long time. And not to sound ungrateful, but it would have been nice to have someone that looked like me on that team before me. I’m glad that I’m able to be that someone for another little Black girl out there.”

According to NBC Sports, Edwards, the lone player making her senior national team debut among the 26 on the roster, earned praise for her formidable skills, with fellow Olympian Hilary Knight noting:

“The way she can rip the puck, it looks like it’s about to break the glass or rip the netting. I wish I had all those things at that age.”

U.S. head coach John Wroblewski expressed confidence in Edwards, emphasizing:

“She’s earned her way into this position. I believe in her long-term, otherwise she wouldn’t be here.”

Having been named MVP of the June 2022 World U18 Championship, Edwards has already proven herself on the international stage.

Despite missing her high school graduation ceremony to compete, she helped Wisconsin secure the NCAA title in March and was recognized as one of the standouts on the Frozen Four all-tournament team.

Looking ahead, Edwards is positioned as a contender for the 2024 Worlds, and if she continues her trajectory, she could become the second Black player to join a U.S. Olympic hockey team in 2026, following in the footsteps of Jordan Greenway, who played for the men’s team in 2018.

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