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Edwards stated that becoming the first Black woman on the national team is an honor, but "it would have been nice to have someone that looked like me on that team before me."

TheGrio Staff |
Nov 13, 2023
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Laila Edwards is breaking barriers in hockey as the first Black woman to play for the U.S. senior national team.

In a rivalry series game versus Canada on Saturday in Los Angeles, Edwards, 19, served on a forward line with her Wisconsin Badgers teammate Britta Curl and Olympian Abby Roque, NBC Sports reported.

“It’s an honor to be the first Black woman on the national team, but this team’s been around for a long time,” NBC reported Edwards said ahead of the game, citing Andscape. “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.”

Laila Edwards
Laila Edwards, playing on a forward line for the U.S. women’s senior national hockey team, stands on the ice during the second period of a rivalry series game against Canada on Saturday in Los Angeles. (Photo: Ashley Landis/AP)

Edwards, a sophomore, stands at 6 feet, 1 inch, making her the tallest skater on the U.S. and Canadian lineups. 

She is the only one on the 26-member roster marking her senior national team debut. The squad contains 22 players from the world championship roster from last April, indicating that Edwards is a contender for the 2024 Worlds.

In June 2022, she was named World U18 Championship MVP, skipping her high school graduation ceremony to participate.

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She was one of five Badgers chosen to the Frozen Four all-tournament team in March after helping Wisconsin win the NCAA title. According to NBC, her sister, Chayla, is three years older and also on the Wisconsin squad.

Edwards might become the second Black player on a U.S. Olympic hockey team in 2026, following Jordan Greenway, who played for the men in 2018.

“She’s earned her way into this position,” said U.S. head coach John Wroblewski. “I believe in her long-term, otherwise she wouldn’t be here.”

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