Earlier this week, Harrison Browne (formerly Hailey) of the NWHL’s Buffalo Beauts became the openly transgender to play in a major North American sports league. Harrison, who shone as a Maine Black Bear in college and debuted with the Beauts in their inaugural (and championship) season last year, says that he previously came out privately to coaches, teammates and close family and friends in college and on the Beauts, but decided that in order to fully enjoy the sport that he loves now was the right time to make his identified gender public. Browne also won a silver medal while playing for Canada at the 2011 IIHF World Women’s Under-18 Championships.
He says that being open about his true self improved his game, and told ESPN,
“My family is starting to come to grips with it, now it’s my time to be known as who I am, to be authentic and to hear my name said right when I get a point, or see my name on a website. When I put that equipment on, I’m a hockey player. I don’t think about who I’m playing with, I don’t think I’m playing with women. I don’t think I’m in the wrong body.”
In the Beauts’ opening game, Browne scored a sweet goal that cut the Boston Pride’s lead to 4-1, and talked after the game about how great it felt to score his first hockey goal as an open and out player.