Children are told from a young age to aim high and, one day, with enough hard work, they can achieve their career goals. It took Taryn Hatcher a lot less time than most.
The 26-year-old reached her dream of being an NHL broadcaster this season when she became the first woman to be a permanent fixture on the Philadelphia Flyers’ broadcast team, serving as the off-ice reporter for NBC Sports Philadelphia. The native of Delran, N.J., has been a hockey fan her entire life and always dreamed of broadcasting her favorite sport and favorite team. “We watched hockey as a family,” she said, “We grew up watching a lot of Flyers hockey, we grew up going to a lot of games.”
Hatcher has been watching sports for as long as she can remember. When she was 10, she was watching a Duke-UNC basketball game with her dad and commented on the passion and excitement that broadcaster Dick Vitale brought to the game. “I remember saying, ‘Can you imagine being someone who gets paid to do that, to watch and talk about it?’ And my dad was like, ‘Well, you could do that.’ I didn’t know the route to get there. Delran is small, a lot of people do what their parents did, it’s one of those towns. No one did anything like this. At 10, everything seems possible, and then I just didn’t change my mind.”
When she graduated from Rutgers University with degrees in journalism and political science, Hatcher couldn’t find a full-time job in the region. She found a broadcasting position at Hawaii News Now in Honolulu and moved nearly 5,000 miles away from home. Working at and perfecting her craft, she kept in touch with her former colleagues from NBC Sports Philadelphia, where she had interned while in college.
As Hatcher improved and became a regular on-air personality, she was informed of an opening for a multi-platform journalist at her old Philadelphia stomping ground. She reached out, got the job, and moved back home last summer. Just a few months into her tenure in Philadelphia, one of the producers suggested she join the Flyers’ broadcast crew in a newly created sideline reporter position. She eagerly accepted, diving into the job with hours of daily research and prep work.
Now working daily alongside Flyers broadcasters Jim Jackson and Keith Jones, both of whom have been involved in the NHL for decades, Hatcher serves as a conduit between the fans and the players that the analysts can’t always provide. She sees herself as a storyteller, able to bring a human side to the game at a time when fans want more access than ever to their favorite stars.
In a few short months, Hatcher’s popularity has grown, with the notoriously tough Philadelphia fans approving of her contribution to the broadcasts. The self-described animal lover – she has a 13-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback dog named Romeo and a three-year-old cat named Ku – hopes to one day broadcast a Stanley Cup game and the Olympics, but in the meantime she’s thrilled to be living her dream and wants others to be able to follow in her footsteps. Her advice is simple: “Just pick something. Pick anything. Figure out the steps to get there, and I guarantee people won’t stop you.”