Photo By Michael Hetzel
April 30, 2018– Harrison Browne, a two-time Isobel Cup champion and two-time winner of the NWHL Fans’ Three Stars of the Season Award, has announced his retirement from the game.
“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 released the following statement this morning:
Retirement Statement from Harrison Browne
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.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who made my time in the NWHL what it was.
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. To all my past teammates, coaches, staff and fans, thank you from the bottom of my heart for making this Canadian feel at home across the pond.
Thank you to the Metropolitan Riveters organization for welcoming me with open arms. I don’t think there is a team out there with the culture and passion that you instilled in me. Chad Wiseman: thank you for allowing me to be part of this team. You crafted a special group and I am so honored to have been part of it. Team: thank you for always having my back, using the proper pronouns, and making me feel like a Riveter as soon as I stepped foot into that locker room. Staff: thank you for always allowing me to play my best and taking care of the little things that often go unappreciated. You are the glue that keeps a team together.
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.
And last but certainly not least, thank you to my parents for sacrificing time and money to help me train and put hockey first. I wouldn’t be where I am today without all the early morning drives to practice, the world-class equipment and trainers, the road trips to tournaments, and countless other little things that you both have done for me throughout my 16-year career. Thank you, Mom and Dad for getting me to where I am today. I couldn’t have done it without you. And to my sister, Rachel, for always supporting me in all I do.
I could go on for about 300 pages to thank everyone in my life who has shaped me into the man I am today, but I will keep it at that. Farewell, NWHL! 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!
Harrison (Brownie) Browne