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After three NWHL seasons (and one retirement), Harrison Browne has decided to conclude his playing career. Below is a portion of Browne’s statement:
“Hi everyone! Brownie here…again. I feel like there’s a little bit of déjà vu happening as I sit [here] writing this letter to all of you, but here we go!
These past 3 years have been some of the best of my life and that is solely due to the fact that the NWHL has existed.I’ve been in this league from the very beginning and have had the honour of watching it blossom into what it is today – a beacon of hope for any young child dreaming of playing professional hockey. I am proud to stand amongst the trailblazers and pioneers who took the first steps onto that fresh sheet of ice and gave an opportunity for the future to see that you can be paid to do what you love! The NWHL will always hold a special place in my heart.
Whether it’s the friendships, the memories, the challenges or the triumphs, I will look back on my time and know that we all made history.
With all that being said…after much thought and deliberation I have decided that the 2017-18 season was my final year playing women’s hockey. I feel that I have made my mark as much as I can in the NWHL and it is time for me to embark on a new journey.
On October 7, 2016, Harrison became the first transgender player in American professional team sports. He then went on to score the first goal of the 2016-17 season en route to his first Isobel Cup with the Buffalo Beauts.
After his championship season with the Beauts, Browne decided to step away from the game to begin his transition. However, he pleasantly shocked the NWHL community by announcing he would return to the league as a member of the Riveters.
Browne and the Riveters opened the 2017-18 season at the Prudential Center, home of the New Jersey Devils. Browne again scored the first goal of the season shorthanded against former Maine teammate Brittany Ott. He helped the Riveters to 11-straight wins to start the third NWHL season.
Browne returned to the game in part to bring visibility to the transgender community. He’s now done so with not one, but two Isobel Cup Championships to his name. He also participated in the NHL Hockey is for Everyone Initiative as an ambassador.
As part of his role, Browne spoke at the Devils’ Pride Night on Thursday, February 1st. He spoke openly about his journey of acceptance, and his desire to be a role model and advocate for others. In his remarks he stated,
“At the beginning of my career with the National Women’s Hockey League, I was not only wearing a mask on the ice but a metaphorical mask as well … looking back, hockey was very much an escape for me. Playing a sport gives you a title that’s not gendered — you’re an athlete.
“Unfortunately, for someone who is transgender, you are sometimes faced with a choice of being yourself or doing something that you absolutely love … at least, I thought I had to choose. “
Browne is now choosing to move forward as Harrison, former NWHL player. Yet, he promises this is not goodbye for good. “My time as a player has come to an end, but I will
always be rooting for you and be part of this league any way that I can. Don’t think of this as a good-bye…think of this as a see ya later!”
We can’t wait to see what’s next, Brownie! Thank you for being a pioneer and advocate for women’s hockey and transgender athletes. I have no doubt you will be a champion at anything life may bring your way.
You can read Harrison’s full statement here.