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Wisconsin's Laila Edwards caps a breakout season with USA Hockey's player of the year award

MADISON – Laila Edwards continues to break barriers.

In November the sophomore for the Wisconsin women’s hockey team became the first Black woman to suit up for the U.S. senior team. She went on to complete a breakout season for the Badgers. She then returned to the national team and was named the most valuable player of the world championships after helping the United States win a silver medal.

On Wednesday, Edwards claimed the Bob Allen Player of the Year award, a distinction USA Hockey gives to the top American women’s hockey player.

This marks the second straight year a Wisconsin player received the honor. Last year rising junior Caroline Harvey won the award.

Four other Badgers have won the award: Jessie Vetter (2009), Meghan Duggan (2011), Hilary Knight (2014 and 2022) and Abby Roque (2020). Knight won the honor after her playing days at Wisconsin.

Edwards’ production took a major jump last season. The 6-foot-1 sophomore went from 27 points (13 goals, 14 assists) as a freshman to 21 goals and 35 assists (56 points) this past season when she was a third-team all-WCHA selection.

She played for the United States in the Rivalry Series with Canada in November. In April she made the national team roster for the world championships and tied for the tournament high with six goals. She recorded a hat trick in a semifinal victory over Finland.

Edwards will receive the award at the USA Hockey President’s Awards Dinner June 7 in Denver.

“I’m so grateful to win the Bob Allen Player of the Year Award,” Edwards said in a press release. “To be alongside such an incredible list of players and to be presented with such a special award, it’s an honor to say the least.”

This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: USA Hockey names Wisconsin's Laila Edwards player of the year