Alumna’s love of sports, journalism blossoms into a career

Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Photos of UNH alumna Chantel McCabe at work as a news anchor and reporter

Chantel McCabe ’11 alternates her time behind the news desk and in the field — from the Whitt to Gillette Stadium.

When Chantel McCabe ’11 was a little girl, she sat with her mother in the stands at the Whittemore Center for her first-ever hockey game. She remembers that experience well, and she says she could not have imagined that years later she’d be a UNH graduate working in broadcast journalism and covering professional sports teams.

For this UNH alumna who majored in kinesiology and English/journalism, however, that is exactly what happened. McCabe’s studies and activities at UNH were her first steps on the path to her current job as a news anchor and multimedia journalist for NH1.

“It’s exciting because it’s a brand new station,” she explains, and growing up in New Hampshire, she is thoroughly enjoying being “part of a start-up in a state that I absolutely love, and I get to share it with my family.”

During her years at UNH, McCabe worked for Wildcat Productions, which produces televised hockey coverage at the arena where she saw that very first game. She also competed in the Miss New Hampshire Scholarship program, beginning when she was 17, and was able to earn about $30,000 toward her education. At UNH, she wrote stories for the athletic department’s website and interned with NESN and WMUR.

“UNH gives you the flexibility to try new things, and I’m thankful for that,” she says, adding those internships were invaluable because they provided her with the opportunity to learn all the dimensions involved in broadcast journalism.

While she puts those skills to use every day, McCabe’s career also lets her immerse herself in her love for sports. “Anything sports, I’m on!” she says.

In addition to hosting shows on CBS Sports and NESN and being the pre-game show host and in-game reporter for the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes on Fox Sports Carolinas in her past work, she also covered the Stanley Cup finals for the NHL Network. McCabe now covers one of her hometown dream teams for NH1: the New England Patriots.

UNH alumna Chantel McCabe covering the New England Patriots
On assignment: McCabe loves covering the Patriots for NH1.

At NH1, McCabe says she loves covering sports and being a news anchor, and she also enjoys having a bit more of a regular schedule than during her hockey reporting days, when her work took her to every community in the U.S. and Canada that has an NHL team.

Thinking about her favorite moments from her journalism career so far, McCabe admits she has quite a few — including covering the Boston Bruins’ Stanley Cup win in 2011.

Another happened when she was covering the Carolina Hurricanes. It was draft day, and the Hurricanes selected their first-ever pick from UNH, Brett Pesce. Pesce, who had just completed his junior season with the UNH Wildcats, was signed to a three-year contract.

“I had no idea he was on their radar,” McCabe says. “Everything aligned because they never had anyone drafted from UNH before, and there I was, a UNH alumna, covering the event.”

One of her favorite assignments of all, though, happened while covering this year’s New England Patriots season for NH1.

McCabe recalls the moment in detail: “I remember thinking, ‘I am here. I’m doing this. I love it. I’m in Gillette Stadium with Tom Brady right in front of me.’ The sights and sounds and the cheering — the smell of the food. It was just so enjoyable. I’ve never felt so fulfilled.”

McCabe says she also loves being a resource for other UNH students interested in broadcasting. Her advice for others working toward the career of their dreams is to relish the experiences. “It flies right by you if you don’t take a moment to enjoy it,” she says.

Working at NH1, McCabe says, she loves “getting back where it all began” — and that has included going all the way back to the Whittemore Center to cover the NCAA 2016 Women’s Frozen Four and the sport that started it all when she was a child in the stands.