Laila Edwards, Team USA, Hockey

Laila Edwards Graces International Ice As First Black Woman Hockey Player On Team USA

The rising hockey star skates with Team USA as a bottom-six forward and the tallest player of the national team.

Laila Edwards, a hockey phenom, has etched her name in history by becoming the first Black woman to represent Team USA at a world championship.

The 20-year-old prodigy secured her spot on the 23-player roster and took to the ice in the opening game against Switzerland on April 3, a moment The Athletic stated as her official arrival on the international stage. “I’m super honored to have this platform,” Edwards said after Wednesday’s game. “I think making the national team is a great step. To be at the World Championships, and representing Team USA at the international level is a great further step in the right direction, which I hope continues.”

Fresh off her sophomore season at the University of Wisconsin, where she finished among the top 10 scorers in the NCAA, the 6-foot-1 athlete skates alongside seasoned veterans Kelly Pannek and Hayley Scamurra as a bottom-six forward and the tallest player on the national team.

As previously covered by BLACK ENTERPRISE, Edwards’ journey with the U.S. women’s national team commenced last November when she made history as the first Black woman to don the team’s jersey during the 2023-24 Rivalry Series against Canada. At the time, Team USA coach John Wroblewski remarked, “I don’t think there’s another woman like her in the game right now.”

Edwards hails from Cleveland Heights, Ohio, where her foray into hockey began with figure skating alongside her older sister, Chayla, during her childhood years. The hockey star performed brilliantly in her debut tournament with USA Hockey at the 2022 U18 women’s worlds, where she was declared top forward and MVP. “Nobody on Team USA had more points; nobody in the world had more goals,” The Athletic noted.

This pivotal moment for Edwards not only celebrates her individual achievement but also paves the way for future generations. She expressed that breaking the barrier is “a great feeling,” and she hopes “it continues to flood” from athletes to come.