Harrison Browne is preparing to make his debut for the National Women’s Hockey League Buffalo Beauts as the second-year professional league’s first transgender player.
The 23-year-old previously played at the professional and college ranks as a woman, under the name Hailey Browne. On Friday, Browne announced he identifies as a male in a story published by ESPN .
Browne said he was planning to make the medical transition to being a man after completing his college career at Maine. He said he put that on hold in spring of 2015 for an opportunity to play in the newly created NWHL.
The Beauts open the season hosting the Boston Pride on Friday night.
NWHL commissioner Dani Rylan told ESPN the league supports Browne and considers him as being the same player as last year. Rylan added the league is working on a policy to include transgender athletes.
Rylan declined an interview request. The NWHL declined to comment beyond Rylan’s statements to ESPN.