In October 2018 Taryn Hatcher graced the screens of Philadelphia for the first time as a rinkside side reporter for NBC Sports Philadelphia during their coverage of the Philadelphia Flyers. It was a dream come true for Taryn as she was a fan of the team since she was a young child growing up outside of Philadelphia.
It is almost inspiring in a way for me to see women working in sports, especially hockey. I know they are out there and exist but it feels almost rare to see sometimes during games.
I grew up watching sports with my dad and grandfather. I can’t help but to remember how male-dominated things were. Sometimes there were women there but it didn’t always come across
Without further ado, meet Taryn Hatcher.
How would you describe your job with NBC Sports Philly and the Flyers?
I am a multi-platform reporter and anchor – and for the past two seasons have been the rinkside reporter for the Flyers as well. Essentially I create content that can live on multiple platforms, on television, social media, on our website, as well as anchor the news while the Flyers are in the offseason. I was fortunate enough, two years ago, to be offered a job as a rinkside reporter for the Philadelphia Flyers in addition to those other jobs. That requires that I attend practices, press conferences, etc., to produce and report on stories that I can share during games.
Who or what inspired you to get into sports?
My dad was a big influence there. We grew up watching a ton of sports together. One night when I was little he pointed out to me that you could get paid to watch and talk about sports on TV. It was a done deal. I never really entertained the idea of pursuing another career after that.
Have sports always been a part of your life? Are you a fan of any sports or teams outside of the Flyers?
Yes, we were a big sports household growing up. My brother played hockey, so of course, growing up in South Jersey we watched a ton of Flyers. But, my dad played college basketball so we watched plenty of hoops as well, college, NBA, WNBA, all of it. And it goes without saying, I grew up an Eagles, and Phillies fan as well. I feel like that’s just a given for kids who grew up in the greater Philadelphia area, but yes. Sports have always been a huge part of my life and certainly shaped plenty of my childhood memories.
What does an average day during hockey season look like for you?
Every day is different honestly. During camp, it’s going to practices nearly every day. Lots of sit down interviews, lots of bulking up on foundational information and stories for the season ahead.
During the season it’s a lot of practices and scrums on non-game days. Game days are by far the most hectic. It’s usually morning skate around 10:30 or so. Media availabilities after that. Emailing my producer ideas for stories I’ve collected. Try to get a workout in and then get ready for the game. I get to the arena about three and a half hours prior to puck drop. We do an arrival interview with a player. Then about 30 minutes prior to puck drop I do a hit for our pregame show. Then it’s game time. My assignments normally entail whatever prepared stories I have, more often than not we call an audible and do something we didn’t prepare based on an event within the game. Then there are intermission interviews with players between periods. Finally, we do postgame availability and get home around 11:00 pm for a 7:00 pm game.
Do you have a favorite moment or interaction with a player or member of the team that you can share? It can be from around the rink, video pieces you do, or interviews with the team.
My walk-off interview with Travis Sanheim after Brad Marchand whiffed on his shootout attempt in the Flyers-Bruin OT game this season. Sanheim is a reserved guy but he came out of his shell following all that craziness. It was just a really fun conversation.
What is your favorite part about working and living in Philadelphia?
I’m from South Jersey. These are my teams. These are the franchises I grew up cheering for and watching religiously. Working for NBC Sports Philadelphia, then CSN Philadelphia, was my childhood dream. My family and friends get to watch me work and give me (sometimes too much) feedback. It’s just awesome. It’s the pipedream I had as a child, except it’s my reality now.
What would your dream interview be in the world of hockey?
Great question. Would love to interview a bunch of the Broad Street Bullies together. I’ve met a lot of those guys from the Flyers Stanley Cup-winning teams. They’re awesome people, and they’re hilarious when they get together. I’d love to just sit-in on their story time.
What do you find to be the most challenging aspect as a woman working in sports especially hockey?
At first, the most difficult part was just that there wasn’t a ton of women who I saw in my position growing up. I grew up watching Flyers hockey, those broadcasts always had a play-by-play guy and two analysts. I hadn’t seen a reporter thrown into that mix. So, it was interesting getting to carve out my own place on the broadcast. Beyond that, the hockey community has been pretty welcoming. My crew, the Flyers organization, the players, everyone in between, have all been really kind and professional toward me. Actually, there are a few of us reporters around the NHL who have developed a close friendship as well, which has been awesome.
What advice do you have for women looking to expand into sports?
Figure out what you want to do. A specific goal. Go after it full speed. But, be flexible to other opportunities along the way.
What’s coming next for you professionally?
I’m still with NBC Sports Philadelphia. It’ll be interesting to see how leagues proceed this upcoming season given everything going on in the world right now. So, I don’t have a super definitive answer in terms of hockey coverage for next season. Until the Flyers are up and playing again I’m focusing on my NBC 10 and NBC Sports Philadelphia on-air assignments as well as producing some fun stuff for our other platforms.
Bonus Question: What would you consider your five favorite hockey cities?
This. Is. TOUGH. Montreal is really fun. Their arena is insanely loud, being in the Bell Center is really an experience. Boston is actually a great time. These Flyers seem to respond well to the amount of hate and passion the fans at TD Garden have toward them. Those broadcasts are fun to be apart of. Nashville is AWESOME. Preds games are a spectacle. Speaking of spectacle, if you visit Vegas – go to a Golden Knights game. Chicago is another great place to watch a hockey game.
Thank you Taryn for taking the time to answer my questions. I can’t wait to see you back with the Flyers next season!
You can find Taryn on social media below and catch her on NBCSports Philadelphia!