Harrison Browne, who came out as transgender while playing for the Buffalo Beauts, has announced his retirement.
Browne played for the Beauts of the National Women's Hockey League from 2015 to 2017, beginning his career as Hailey Browne. The 24-year-old announced he was transgender prior to his second season, becoming the first player to do so in professional team sports.
"Harrison is a champion for transgender rights and retires as an Isobel Cup champion hockey player,” said NWHL Commissioner Dani Rylan. “He is going to be missed on the ice, but he has left quite a legacy from his three years in our league. We want to thank Brownie for everything he has done in the game and wish him the best in the road ahead."
Browne won the Isobel Cup with the Beauts in 2017 and with the Metropolitan Riveters this season. Former Sabres forward Ric Seiling was coach of the Beauts.
"These past three years have been some of the best of my life and that is solely due to the fact that the NWHL has existed," Browne said in his retirement letter. "I am so proud to have stood as the first transgender athlete in professional hockey and could have never done that without the support of the NWHL, so thank you to everyone who made being my authentic self in hockey a reality. A special shout out to Dani Rylan – our commissioner for never skipping a beat in making sure one of her players could play as himself; to Chris Botta for helping me navigate the press aspect of my decision; and to Ric Seiling for always treating me with respect and advocating for me.
"Thank you to the Buffalo Beauts organization for giving me a chance to make my professional hockey dreams come true. I will always cherish my time in Buffalo and as a Beaut.
"Thank you to all the fans out there who have shown me support. I can’t thank you enough for all that you have done for me and the LGBTQ community as a whole. You have shown anyone struggling to be themselves that they don’t have to be afraid … that there will always be people out there who will support you and love you no matter what. Thank you for allowing me to feel comfortable in my own skin and cheering me on as Harrison."