Badgers’ hockey mom shares her family’s formula for success at the La Bahn Arena on New Year’s Day

Wisconsin reaps hockey championship rewards from the contributions made by the Charon Edwards-Gray family. Her daughter, Chayla Edwards, is one of the freshman forwards playing for the NCAA Frozen Four Championship Badgers’ women’s hockey team.

From left to right: Laila Edwards, Team USA Hockey and future Badger Women’s Hockey player and her mother Charon Gray-Edwards. Both were attending the game to show support for Freshman Forward Chayla Edwards.

On New Year’s Day 2022, mom sat in the bleachers cheering along with her daughter Laila, while watching her daughter Chayla crush pucks with slapshots at the La Bahn Arena.

The family showed up as a Badger trifecta ranging from current player, mom, prospect and future player. Fall of 2022, the Charon Edwards-Gray family will be the first to witness two family members of color playing for the Badgers’ women’s hockey team.  

The team crushed the Quinnplac Bobcats while leading their division. The Wisconsin Badgers women’s hockey team worked as a unit of synergy bringing home a 5-2 win.

Edwards skated effortlessly while pounding puck after puck at the Quinnipiac Bobcats’, whose goalie was viewed on her back most of the game.

Charon Edwards-Gray, hockey mom, provides hope for the future of the African American community by representing hockey moms of color who host children playing at the college level. Edwards-Gray travels from Cleveland Heights, Ohio when attending games.

Chayla Edwards speeds off to protect the Bobcats from scoring and taking away their lead. The Bobcats ranked second in their division coming into the game on New Year’s Day.

While a vast majority of Wisconsinites spent the day nursing hangovers, the Badgers witnessed a mother, and her two daughters demonstrate their love for hockey before and after the game, in the bleachers and on the ice.

The Edwards family bond illuminated fans around the La Bahn Arena during intermissions, giving out hugs and waves, while gracing each person with the aura of excellence when sharing their support with their respect and appreciation for her daughter’s contribution to the team.

Edwards-Gray is recognized as a huge contributor to the team’s success according to the fans who greet them.

The Edwards family appearance radiated a blend of ebony essence as their star player took the ice, waiving at her mom and sister once intermission completed.

Women in sports are protected by Title IX provisions set forth by the advocacy efforts of women of the ‘70s. Women have worked hard by improving and advancing diversity, equity and inclusion.

The enlightenment of the inception of Title IX in 1972, shares the La Bahn Arena with both women and men, who recognize women in hockey work equally as hard as men.

Meeting both Charon and Laila Edwards on New Year’s Day, who were the only family obliging a request for interview, could not help but notice grace being their main attribute. Their charisma and essence felt inclusive when answering questions about their daughter and sister.  

Laila Edwards shared her experience as the younger sister and family core value of inclusion.

“Chayla is definitely my number one role model. Don’t tell her I said that,” Laila Edwards said. “Hopefully, the generations to come will set a good example, whether men’s or women’s hockey, and that our people after us have it good.”

Charon Edwards introduced herself wearing her daughter’s jersey. She also spoke of her daughter Laila, allowing her to share her experience as a prospect for the Badgers’ women’s hockey team and future player, who’s finishing up high school.

Edwards-Gray’s aura radiated the essence of equity while standing in the presence of grace. Triumphantly, her daughter managed to battle on through the pandemic while competing and mask mandates.

Even the universe would agree Charon Edwards’ energy radiates La Bahn Arena when giving hugs and treating fans of her family with commonality.

The Edwards family battled on in the Badger ice arena despite ongoing obstacles with campus competitive sports policy. The family prepares for Laila’s next steps with joining the team.

By Jan. 22, the Badgers added another player for Fall 2022. The announcement went public that Laila Edwards would join her sister on the team and on campus to pursue an engineering degree.

The Wisconsin Badgers’ Women’s Hockey NCAA Frozen Four team laid waste to the Bobcats like a bazooka blasting open the front door of 2022.

Fans in attendance knew the first day blow out will remember the honor women bring with their efforts as Badgers. Life outside of the ice faces the stress of resource strain with hockey mothers of color. When speaking about her experience as a hockey mom of color, Edwards-Gray as a proponent to the Title IX movement, outlived stereotypes of the past witnessing the day when women in sports matter.  

“I’m very excited that they have a platform now,” Edwards-Gray said discussing the leadership roles of her daughters. “They can speak on things like that. They can encourage women and it doesn’t matter where they come from.”

Fortunately, Title IX regulations offer women in hockey the perpetual momentum moving women’s sports forward. Title IX of the Amendments of 1972 provide safeguards, which offer protections for women based on the admonishing of discrimination based on sex.

According to the article “Four American Women of Color Navigating Hockey’s Witnesses,” authored by contributor Erica Ayala of The Victory Press, published May 22, 2017, women’s “participation in college athletics has grown seven-fold in the past 45 years­.”

Ayala’s article offers insight pertaining to the challenge the Edwards family faced competing on New Year’s Day, instead of wasting the day lounging on the couch watching men’s hockey with a bag of frozen peas on their forehead after a night of drinking Wisconsinbly.

Bradley J. Burt serves the Dane County community as an American Legion Dane County Service Officer. Burt assists those in crisis with his multimedia reporter service as a blogger to distribute virtual information at his Social Media Writing final project called "Outpost 422." Burt returned as a Wisconsin State Certified Journey worker after finding out he could receive 39 credits for his journey worker certificate. The Technical Studies Journey Worker Associate's Degree helped him transfer to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where he received a waiver. The waiver allowed him to pursue the field of journalism bypassing general education requirements. In 2014, Burt uncovered information about the Wisconsin G.I. Bill as a Veterans Committee Chairperson. Burt joined the American Legion to investigate benefits further. After being elected to Service Officer in 2015, Burt began noticing college benefit opportunities in Wisconsin. In 2017, Burt left his job due to physical limitations from his military service-connected injuries. ​ The Wisconsin G.I. Bill became his life preserver. Burt returned to school to survive unemployability while waiting in appeal for VA benefit denial. Being a Service Officer taught him how to find resources to survive appeal. After interviewing Sgt. Gary Brynjulfson from "The Reflections of Vietnam" and reading Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried," Burt decided to develop a therapeutic writing style to help him cope with anxiety. Outpost 422 developed and journalism became his pursuit. ​ Burt works as an American Legion Service Officer who is surviving by going back to school and writing about his college experience. Burt's portfolio is his passion to pay forward to the next struggling veteran to offer avenues of hope to encourage veterans to try going back to school no matter where they are in life.

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