Tziarra King, the eighth overall pick in the 2020 NWSL College Draft, has long been an outspoken advocate for better representation for women of color in sports and for social change in North America. Most recently, King has been involved with the Black Players of the NWSL’s call for “necessary, long-term change” with regards to police violence against Black individuals across the United States.
Off the pitch, though, King has taken her activism to the drawing board of an entirely different league: the NWHL.
Alright, it’s decided. I’m now a @Riveters fan. @NWHL I really want this shirt, but can we get some texture in that pony for the black girls? I’m thinking something like @saroyatinker71 Maybe one for the short haired girls too? pic.twitter.com/BawoP62iKu— Tziarra King (@tziarra) July 2, 2020
Released today, King is credited with being not just the inspiration, but a driving force behind the NWHL’s expanded t-shirt line, which features a ponytail coming out of a hockey helmet. The new additions to the product line, which was created by NWHL director of marketing Ksenia Selemon and in consultation with King, will feature hair of a variety of textures — including braids and ponytails of tight curls.
With the NWHL’s motto of “See it, Dream it, Be it,” it’s important that the message applies to all aspiring hockey players. Underrepresentation and a lack of visibility are both common barriers to girls and women in sports, but even more so to young girls of color who don’t often see players like themselves on the ice or on the field. While the league has traditionally used their motto as a call to action to provide greater visibility for female athletes in general, they have now taken the important — and long overdue — step of extending that call for visibility to aspiring female athletes of color.
It may be a small step, but it’s still an important part of making sure every athlete feels welcome on the ice.
“Representation is such an important part of feeling empowered, especially in a space where many people don’t look like you,” King said in the release. “I’m so glad to have collaborated with the NWHL on these designs and look forward to following the league for many years to come.”