The New Hampshire Wildcats, or 'Cats, are the athletic teams of the University of New Hampshire. The wildcat is the school's official mascot, the colors are UNH Blue and white. There are 21 varsity sports, 25 sport clubs, and 23 different Intramural sports.
The men's and women's varsity teams compete at the NCAA Division I level; in football, it competes in the second tier of Division I, the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA). The football program plays in the Colonial Athletic Association, and the men's and women's hockey teams are members of Hockey East. The other teams compete in the America East, except for the ski teams and gymnastics team who compete in the East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) and Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) respectively.
The official mascot and nickname is the Wildcats. The Athletic Department holds annual mascot try-outs for selecting male and females to wear the "Wild E. Cat" and "Gnarlz" costumes at various sporting events and occasional university functions. Those selected as the athletic department's icon are cheerleaders.
The Wildcat became the official college mascot and nickname in February 1926. Students cast their votes using a ballot which appeared in the February 26, 1926, edition of The New Hampshire. The "Durham Bulls," a nickname given to the Hockey team by the local media, was a close runner-up. Other votes for the mascot included a husky, an eagle and even a unicorn. It was argued in an opinion piece in The New Hampshire, in part that: The Wildcat is small and aggressive—like New Hampshire. The actions of the wildcat are more symbolic of a New Hampshire team on the field than those of the sluggish bull. Furthermore, the actual mascot, if a wildcat, could be more easily transported from place to place than a bull.