Harrison Browne, the only openly transgender athlete in North American team sports, plans to retire from the Buffalo Beauts of the National Women's Hockey League, after this season.
Browne will try to land a position in sports business. He will serve on the NWHL’s Board of Advisors next season, specializing on inclusion.
“Harrison is leaving quite a legacy from his two years in our league,” said NWHL Commissioner Dani Rylan. “He is a pioneer for transgender rights and has been a great hockey player at every level of the game. He is going to be missed, but it’s gratifying to know that Brownie is remaining a part of the NWHL family.”
The story was first disclosed in a New York Times story published Tuesday.
Browne released this statement:
“After much thought and consideration, I have made an incredibly difficult decision that this will be my final year of playing professional women's hockey. I have had a meaningful and impactful career playing the sport I cherish for the past 15 years, but it is time for me to move on and begin my career off the ice.
“First off, I want to recognize the NWHL and Dani Rylan for providing me with the opportunity to live out my dream of being a professional athlete. I’m looking forward to continuing my association with the league as an advisor. I am eternally grateful for the friendships that I have been so fortunate to form, memories created within the Buffalo community, and level of talent that I have been exposed to throughout the duration of my playing career.
“I am extremely proud and honored to be ending my career as a member of the Buffalo Beauts family. I feel indebted to my coaches (Ric Seiling, Craig Muni and Shelley Looney) and the skill set and level of expertise that they reinforced within me as player, my teammates who have unconditionally accepted me and become some of my lifelong friends, and the world-class staff behind the scenes who made every game and practice run with ease and efficiency.
“I also want to thank my parents and the sacrifices that they made throughout my childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. Without their investment and support, I would not have had privilege of making hockey a main priority during my upbringing. Another pivotal person who has been there for me since day one is my girlfriend Carly. Thank you for always being in the stands and supporting me so perfectly.
“And last, but certainly not least, I want to acknowledge the unbelievable fans who have cheered me on, provided me with unwavering love and dedication, and allowed me to skate as my authentic self. You have made this journey memorable beyond measure.
“Cheers, Buffalo! You will be sorely missed.”
The NWHL announced its 2016-17 regular-season awards on Tuesday, and Browne was selected as one of the league's Three Stars of the Season. More than 8,000 people voted for that award. Anya Battaglino of Connecticut and Rebecca Russo of New York also were picked.
Megan Bozek of the Beauts was named the Best Defender of the 2016-17 National Women’s Hockey League season. Bosek had five goals and five assists for 10 points in 16 games with the Beauts.
“Although she’s known for her booming shot, Boz is much more than that,” Beauts assistant coach Craig Muni said. “She’s outstanding in both ends of the ice. She’s difficult to play against, controls the pace of a game, rushes at will, and quarterbacks our power play. She is a team leader whose international experiences have been invaluable to our rookie defenders.”
Brianna Decker of Boston was selected as the league’s MVP for the second straight year.
Kelsey Neumann of the Beauts was given a NWHL Foundation Award for growing the game and improving hockey cuture.
The NWHL’s playoffs will be held this weekend. Buffalo will play the New York Riveters in Newark, N.J. on Friday night. The winner moves to Sunday’s championship game.