Harrison Browne smiling as he looks on during the 2017 NWHL All-Star Weekend. Photo by Michelle Jay.
BROOKLYN, NY – Harrison Browne’s retirement, which was announced in March, did not take. He has come to realize that he loves the game of hockey and the NWHL too much, and that he’s not ready to relinquish his platform as a role model for transgender youth.
Browne, who last season became the first transgender player in American professional team sports – and then won the Isobel Cup in March with the Buffalo Beauts – is back for season three. The 24-year-old Browne signed a contract this morning to play for the New York Riveters in 2017-18.
“I took a lot of time these last four months to reflect on my career, my rights, and future steps that I am eager to take in my life,” said Browne. “After thinking long and hard about exactly what those signify and how they can connect, I decided that I wasn’t ready to retire from the NWHL.
“What can I say? I’m a hockey player! This game has been a big part of my life, I’m still young and I’ve got plenty of quality hockey left in me. I continued to train a lot this summer, and spent some time on-ice with [Riveters coach] Chad Wiseman, who lives a town over from me in Ontario. I realized I had more to offer.
“But there were other factors, of course. The impact I was able to make as an active pro athlete in the LGBTQ community meant a lot to me. At this time – when rights seem to be getting taken away instead of gained – the platform is something I’m not ready to give up. I want to remain as visible as I can for any LGBTQ youth who may view me as a positive role model. I’m going to continue to share my story.”
Browne has his own YouTube channel where he posts videos that dive deeply into his experience as a transgender man. He is also very active on Twitter and Instagram. For the upcoming season, he plans on hosting members of LGBTQ organizations at all Riveters home games at Barnabas Hockey House in Newark.
A 5-4 forward, Browne played 35 regular season games for the Beauts in the first two seasons of the NWHL and had 7 goals and 11 assists for 18 points.
“Thank you to Buffalo, my teammates and coaches and the staff, and to all the Beauts fans who treated me so well these past two seasons,” said Browne. “I will never forget your kindness and support.”
Browne was one of four players selected by fans to play in the 2017 NWHL All-Star Game. Along with Connecticut’s Anya Battaglino and new Riveters teammate Rebecca Russo, he was one of the Fans’ 3 Stars of the Season for 2017-18.
“Harrison is a veteran NWHL player with an Isobel Cup championship on his resume and a tenacious style and relentless work ethic that makes him a great fit for the Riveters organization,” said Riveters head coach Chad Wiseman. “I had the privilege to work with Harrison this summer back home in Canada. He has a great attitude and, in my view, underrated skill level. I believe this could be a breakout year for him on offense.”
A native of Oakville, Ontario, Browne played one year of collegiate hockey at Mercyhurst before transferring to the University of Maine, where he played 96 games over three seasons. In 2011, he won a silver medal as a member of Team Canada at the IIHF U-18 World Championships.
“As much as I’m really going to miss Buffalo and everyone on the team, I’m proud to be reppin’ the Rivs,” said Browne, who is moving to New Jersey in September. “It will be a new chapter for me in the New York metro area and hopefully it includes another Isobel Cup.”