Although Laila Edwards — the first Black woman to play for the U.S. Women's National Hockey Team — didn't play when Team USA defeated Team Canada 3-1 on Wednesday (as part of their annual Rivalry Series), it's only a matter of time before Edwards' impact is felt on the ice. In the meantime, she'll continue to make a massive impact off of it.
Edwards hails from Cleveland Heights, Ohio, and is currently in the middle of her sophomore hockey season at the University of Wisconsin. As a freshman, Edwards was a major part of the Badgers' 2022 National Championship team, and one of five Wisconsin players to make the Frozen Four All-Tournament team.
After her successful freshman season, Edwards tried out for the USA Senior National Team at a camp in Lake Placid, New York. The Badgers' forward then received an email this August notifying her that she made the 2023-24 national team — but it wasn't until late September that she was officially invited to compete in the November Rivalry Series.
In an interview with Milwaukee's TMJ4 news station, Edwards shared that, "Growing up, I always watched the national team. "I really enjoyed watching them, but it would have been great to see someone who looked like me on that team also."
Edwards expanded on that sentiment on ESPN Radio, saying, "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 the team before me. I'm glad that I'm able to be that someone for another little Black girl out there."
Profound words from the inspirational hockey star.
Edwards has received a lot of love since being named to Team USA. In fact, Kansas City Chiefs tight end — and Taylor Swift's boyfriend — Travis Kelce shouted Edwards out on his New Heights Podcast in October.
"Just being from [Cleveland Heights], you got my love and support," Kelce — who is also from Cleveland Heights, Ohio — said of Edwards. "Go out there and hold it down for USA, baby."
People are predicting that Edwards will make her on-ice Team USA debut on Saturday, November 11, when the US National Team plays Team Canada once again — this time at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.
We'll be keeping an eye out for when Edwards takes the ice. We imagine that Black girls across America will be, as well.
Want More Sports News?
Get the biggest and best sports news sent directly to your inbox.