How does Edwards feel about achieving this milestone? “It’s an honor to be the first Black woman on the national team, but this team’s been around for a long time,” Edwards told 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.”
“It’s about time,” Edwards re-emphasized to The Athletic. “Now young girls can look at the highest level and see someone that looks like that. It adds extra motivation and inspiration. I like to be a role model for anyone, but more specifically for young people of color.”
Edwards said “It’s overwhelming, but in a good way,” adding, “It’s a privilege to be able to call something like this overwhelming. I’m very proud to be in this position.”
“Sometimes it can be discouraging to not see people that look like you, but we have to start somewhere,” she continued. “I hope that what I’m doing this week is a big start and people continue to try and make the game more diverse and inclusive.”
Standing at 6-foot 1 inch tall with an impressive skillset to back, Edwards is truly a force on the ice. As Team USA coach John Wroblewski said, “I don’t think there’s another woman like her in the game right now.”
“Her hockey IQ is off the charts,” Wroblewski stated. “I would call her like a quarterback of sorts, because she’s able to see the little easy chip play. She makes those little short plays look easy with her deception and her vision.”
The Cleveland native donned skates at just three years old, initially starting off in figure skating. But Edwards transitioned “to hockey full-time when she was around six years old.”
But at first she wasn’t exactly happy with this decision. “I loved figure skating because you got to wear those cute little outfits,” Edwards revealed. “My dad said I had to do hockey, and I was upset at first, but my dad was like, trust me. I was not very happy about it at the time, but now I am.”
Edward’s hockey accolades would confirm that this was indeed the right choice. Instead of walking at her graduation ceremony from high school, she was winning Most Valuable Player at the IIHF Under-19 Women’s World Championship. Then a year later as a freshman at the University of Wisconsin, she helped her team win their seventh national championship. And she’s still only 19-years-old.
If Edwards continues on her current trajectory, in 2026, she could “become the second Black player on a U.S. Olympic hockey team after Jordan Greenway played for the men in 2018,” NBC Sports reports.