The National Women’s Hockey League’s first transgender player scored a goal in his debut match.
Harrison Browne is the first publicly out transgender professional hockey player in America. On Friday night he played for the Buffalo Beauts against the Boston Pride.
“I identify as a man,” Browne said in an interview with ESPNW. “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.”
He added: “On the ice, 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.”
Competing as a man in a women’s league means he won’t begin the medical transition process, which includes testosterone treatments that could put him violation of the NWHL’s doping policy.
NWHL commissioner Dani Rylan said the league is now working on a policy that will include transgender athletes, and that the women’s league is accepting of a transgender man on a team roster.
“At the end of the day, Harrison is the same player he was last year,” Rylan said. “We’re here to support him. It’s really not a big deal when you look at it, we’re respecting his name, the pronouns and his request to be his authentic self.”
Beauts coach and former NHL player, Ric Seiling, said nothing’s changed in his approach toward Harrison, noting he’s always referred to the player as “Brownie.”
“This is Harrison’s decision and I support whatever they decide,” Seiling said. “The team has had no reaction. It’s still the same person that walks into that dressing room every day. It’s still the same person that puts on his skates the same way. There’s no difference.”