Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Skating to success: Laila Edwards shines on women’s hockey team

From youth MVP to collegiate sensation, follow Edwards’ journey to hockey stardom
Bennett Waara

In the dynamic realm of women’s hockey, Laila Edwards emerges as a formidable force embodying resilience, skill and an unwavering commitment to excellence both on and off the ice.

Early Years

Edwards’ journey to hockey stardom began long before she stepped foot on the ice at the University of Wisconsin. Hailing from Cleveland Heights, Ohio, Edwards’ love for the sport was ignited at a young age, inspired by her father’s passion for hockey and the physical nature of the sport.


At the young age of 11, Edwards realized hockey gave her an opportunity to earn a college degree.

“If I can have college paid for and play at the highest level that’d be amazing,” Edwards said.

Edwards honed her craft at Bishop Kearney High School in Rochester, New York, where she left an indisputable mark on the program. Throughout her high school career, Edwards amassed a staggering 413 points, showcasing her prowess as both a goal scorer and playmaker with 147 goals in 287 games from 2018 to 2022. During the 2021-22 season, Edwards’ dominance reached new heights as she recorded an astounding 97 points, tallying 38 goals and 59 assists for the under-19 team at Bishop Kearney.

As a testament to her exceptional skill and leadership on the ice, Edwards was named MVP at the 2022 International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Women’s World Championship, where she played an instrumental role in leading the U.S. team to a silver medal, amassing an impressive eight points throughout the tournament.

Exceptional Talent

Since arriving at UW, Edwards has swiftly made her mark, showcasing her exceptional talent and earning recognition as a finalist for the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Rookie of the Year in 2023. Her prowess on the rink has been evident, securing her a spot on the WCHA All-Rookie Team and landing her on the radar as a contender for the Hockey Commissioners Association Rookie of the Year.

These accomplishments wouldn’t be possible without a great deal of hard work.  Edwards, amidst her burgeoning hockey career and academic pursuits, maintains a meticulously structured weekly schedule.

“A class or two before practice, 8 a.m./11 a.m., then straight to the rink and workout then practice, then afterward eat and then another class Monday through Wednesday.”

This disciplined routine underscores her unwavering commitment to balancing her athletic and educational endeavors.

Edwards’ regimen extends beyond the confines of campus, particularly during game weeks, as she explained traveling weekends involve being away Thursday through Saturday. This adherence to a well-organized schedule not only emphasizes Edwards’ dedication but also highlights her appreciation for the structure that enables her to excel both on the ice and in the classroom.

Dominating the Game

In the 2023-24 season, Edwards has left spectators in awe, showcasing her expertise on the ice in every matchup. With a remarkable 18 points amassed in just 12 games, she stands as a beacon of offensive excellence for the Wisconsin team. Her ability to navigate the complexities of the game with finesse is unparalleled, evident in her five goals and 13 assists, a testament to her versatility and skill.

Edwards’ contributions extend beyond mere statistics; she possesses an innate ability to rise to the occasion when the pressure is at its peak. This was exemplified in her standout performances, such as her exceptional outing against St. Cloud State, where she notched a memorable two-goal game, leaving an indelible mark on the match.

Her consistency is highlighted by the fact that she’s tallied six multi-point games, underscoring her reliability as a key offensive catalyst for her team. Additionally, her defensive prowess is equally commendable, as evidenced by her role in tying for the team lead in plus/minus with an impressive +21 rating, further solidifying her status as a well-rounded player whose impact reverberates throughout every facet of the game.

Balancing Act

Beyond her athletic feats, Edwards navigates the demanding landscape of student-athlete life with grace and determination. Juggling academic responsibilities with the rigors of training and competition, she exemplifies resilience in the face of adversity. Despite the challenges of managing a packed schedule, Edwards remains steadfast in her pursuit of excellence, driven by a deep-seated desire to excel both on the ice and in the classroom.

Championing Mental Health

In addition to her athletic abilities, Laila is a vocal advocate for mental health awareness within the realm of collegiate athletics. Drawing from her own experiences, Edwards emphasized the importance of fostering a supportive environment that prioritizes the well-being of student-athletes. Her vision for the future is one characterized by open dialogue, destigmatization and increased support for those facing mental health challenges.

Edwards stands as a shining beacon of talent, resilience and advocacy, leaving an indelible mark on the world of collegiate hockey and inspiring those around her to strive for greatness — both on and off the ice.

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