African Americans in Hockey: Top 5 Women

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Hockey isn’t the most diverse sport in the United States, but that doesn’t mean African Americans haven’t been part of it. Challenges such as the cultural stigma that it’s a white man’s sport and the racial abuse faced by those who played the game haven’t deterred others from going into the game. In this article, we’ll list African Americans in hockey.

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Blake Bolden

Blake Bolden is one of the most prominent African Americans in hockey. She’s the first and only black female scout in the game. She was a former player and the first black player to feature in the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL). Some of the teams she played for include: 

She has two World Championships gold medals.

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Kelsey Koelzer

Kelsey Koelzer’s career. Video Credit: CBS Philadelphia

Kelsey Koelzer is the head coach of the Arcadia University ice hockey program. Her appointment in 2019 meant that she was the first black head coach in the NCAA Division I. Before that, Koelzer was a player, having started her career in college at Princeton University

After that, the New York Riveters drafted her as a first-round overall pick which made her the first black player to achieve this feat. Koelzer spent two seasons with the team and then joined the Professionals Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHP).  

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Nina Rodgers

Nina Rodgers working in hockey. Video Credit: Maine Black Bears

In 2021, Nina Rodgers became the first black female coach in the NCAA Division I after Dartmouth College hired her as its assistant coach. She played in the NWHL for the Connecticut Whale and later the Minnesota Whitecaps. At the college level, Rodgers played for Minnesota and then moved to Boston University.

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Laila Edwards

Edwards broke the color barrier in women’s hockey after she represented Team USA to become the first black woman to do so in the sport. She was competing in the Rivalry Series where the USA played against Canada. 

In 2019, she was part of the USA’s U15 development side, and two years later, was in the U18 side with whom she won the Most Valuable Player award at the IIHF U18 world championship.

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Chayla Edwards

Chayla Edwards is known for being Laila Edwards’ sister. Even though she might walk in her shadows, she’s also a hockey player on her right. She plays for the University of Wisconsin’s Women’s Hockey team. In 2023, she was part of the team that won the NCAA Championships, making history by becoming the first team to win seven titles.  

African Americans in hockey have done more than enough for black people to warrant a significant place in the sport. However, things seem to moving slowly as we remain a minority in the sport. That said, we have to keep pushing until we achieve our goal and then ensure that we never regress.  

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