The New York Riveters announced on Monday that they have signed former Buffalo Beauts forward, Harrison Browne, for the 2017-2018 National Women’s Hockey League season.
Browne, who last season became the first transgender player to suit up for an American professional sports team, decided to put his retirement on hold and return to the NWHL for season three. Browne, who helped the Beauts capture the Isobel Cup this past season, felt that he was not ready to relinquish his platform serving as a role model for transgender youths.
“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 the 24-year-old. “After thinking long and hard about exactly what those signify and how they connect, I decided I wasn’t ready to retire from the NWHL.”
“What can I say? I am a hockey player,” Browne continued. “This game has been a big part of my life, I am still young and I have got plenty of quality hockey left in me. I continued to train a lot this summer, and I have 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.”
Browne shares many of his experiences on being a transgendered man through videos on his personal YouTube channel, as well as across the social media platforms of Twitter and Instagram. This fall he will host members of the LGBTQ community at the RWJ Barnabas Health Hockey House, in Newark, New Jersey during Riveters home games this season.
“The impact I was able to make as an active pro athlete in the LGBTQ community meant a lot to me, said Browne. “At this time, when rights seem, to be getting taken away instead of gained, the platform is something I am 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,” Browne continued. “I am going to continue to share my story.”
The five-foot-four forward put up seven goals and 11 assists in 35 games over the first two seasons of the NWHL. Along with new teammate, Rebecca Russo and NWHL Player Association Director and Connecticut Whale forward, Anya Battaglino, Browne was voted by the fans as one of the Three Stars of the Season.
“Harrison is a veteran NWHL player with an Isobel Cup championship on his resume with a tenacious style and relentless work ethic that makes him a great fit for the Riveters organization,” said Wiseman. “I had the privilege to work with Harrison this summer back home in Canada. He had a great attitude and in my view underrated skill level. I believe this could be a breakout year for him on offense.”
The Oakville, Ontario native played one year of college hockey at Mercyhurst University, in Erie, Pennsylvania, before transferring to the University of Maine. In 96 games with the Black Bears, Browne score 12 goals and 21 assists. Browne also helped Team Canada capture the silver at the 2011 Under-18 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships.
Browne will be moving from Buffalo to New Jersey in September, and took time to thank the staff, coaches, teammates and the fans during his time with the Beauts.
“As much as I am going to miss Buffalo and everyone on the team, I am proud to be reppin’ the Rivs,” said Browne. “It will be a new chapter for me in the New York metro area and hopefully it another Isobel Cup.”