Transgender Hockey Player Retires After Coming Out In The Fall Harrison Browne announced his retirement from the National Women's Hockey League. He says the support since coming out last October, has been overwhelming.

First Openly Transgender Professional Team Athlete Retires

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


We're going to bring you a sports update now from the world of professional hockey. A lot of eyes this season have been on a player named Harrison Browne, partly because of moments like this.


UNIDENTIFIED COMMENTATOR #1: All alone - scores.

UNIDENTIFIED COMMENTATOR #2: Oh, my goodness - what a breakaway goal by Harrison Browne.

MARTIN: But Browne has gotten more attention because he is a transgender man who plays in the National Women's Hockey League. That makes him the first openly transgender athlete in American professional team sports.


Now, until October, Browne was known publicly as Hailey Browne. And then on the day Browne's Buffalo Beauts opened their season, Browne announced that he was transgender and would start transitioning.


HARRISON BROWNE: I started feeling comfortable with the commissioner, with my coaches and my teammates. And I just felt like I needed to do this for myself to feel comfortable playing in my professional life. Every time I go to the rink, I'm an athlete. I don't think of myself as a woman. I don't think of my teammates as women. We're athletes. We're teammates. And we're friends.

INSKEEP: Browne says support from his teammates and the league has been overwhelming.

MARTIN: Regardless, he's decided to retire at the age of 23, after two professional seasons. League rules don't let players undergo hormone therapy, including taking testosterone.


BROWNE: I do want to start my life. I do want to start transitioning and seeing myself in the mirror the way that I see on the inside.

MARTIN: Browne is already planning his career off the ice. He'll pivot to a career in sports business, starting as an adviser to the National Women's Hockey League.

INSKEEP: But his playing career is not over yet. He's going to lace up his skates one more time tonight when the Buffalo Beauts play the New York Riveters in the league playoffs.


BROWNE: Once the buzzer goes, all I'm focusing on is my next shift and my next period. I'm not really focusing on my upcoming retirement. I'm just focusing on playing my best hockey, and hopefully, we'll win a championship.

INSKEEP: Harrison Browne, first openly transgender athlete in American professional team sports.


Copyright © 2017 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.