Laila Edwards is the personification of Black Girl Magic!
On Nov. 11, the rising hockey player made history after she became the first Black woman to play for the United States senior women’s national hockey team. Now, the 6-foot-1 athlete wants to pave the way for other young women and men of color to do the same.
“It’s an honor. I’m grateful and I take pride in it,” Edwards told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel during a recent interview. “I’m glad that I can be a role model to girls of color and boys out there.”
On Saturday, Edwards, a native of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, suited up for the second game of Team USA’s Rivalry Series against Canada. The star helped the women’s national hockey team earn a 5-2 win during the big game.
The historic hockey player has been honing her skills on the ice for years.
According to an interview with the Athletic, Edwards began skating full-time when she turned six years old, but when she turned 10 and began traveling for hockey events, the star knew deep down in her heart that she wanted to dedicate her life to the sport.
“I was like, okay this can take me far,” the 19-year-old Cleveland native told Cronkite News Nov. 10.
In 2019, the University of Wisconsin sophomore played for the USA Hockey Girls U15 development camp. In 2022, she earned the title of Most Valuable Player at the IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship, but Edwards has faced her fair share of obstacles throughout her amazing career journey.
During her interview with Cronkite News, Edwards admitted that it was tough going into the rink and not “seeing anyone” who looked like her on the ice.
“Sometimes I’d walk into a rink and ask where the locker room was and the people working there would say, ‘Oh the basketball court is over that way.’ And, I’m like, ‘No I’m here for hockey,'” she revealed.
Thanks to her older sister, Chayla, and her unrelenting confidence, Edwards has learned to deal with those uncomfortable “microagressions” when they arise — and she’s not letting anything get in her way of success.
“I’m hoping that I inspire the next young of color woman,” she added.
Edwards and her sister attend the University of Wisconsin where they have been making big moves together. Last season, the sister duo helped the Badgers score a national championship.
There’s so much more in store for the iconic hockey player, and we can’t wait to see where she goes next with Team USA.
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