Rachel Halldorson will be wearing the 'M' in Prince Edward Island this February.
The Lundar product is one of just two goaltenders on Team Manitoba's U18 female squad that will be heading to the 2023 Canada Winter Games. Halldorson says just making the Top 68 camp was an accomplishment in her eyes.
"I was really surprised, in the beginning, that I got asked to be on the Top 68. Now, making it all the way through, I was already excited and proud of how far I had gotten in the tryouts, so I was ecstatic," Halldorson explains. "It was mind-blowing. I've never been so excited. It's going to be quite a journey."
Halldorson says this is a big motivator and has shown her that hard work really does pay off. She notes this is her first time being a part of a provincial team of any kind. The goaltender adds if someone told her at this point last year that representing Manitoba was in her future, she would've been in shock.
"It would've been crazy. I wouldn't have believed it at the beginning but it was my dream to make it," Halldorson continues. "So, accomplishing my dream and making it to where I want to be is crazy."
When it comes to goaltenders who have played at least five games in the Manitoba U18 Female Hockey League this season, Halldorson could be considered the best. She leads the way in goals-against-average, letting up just 1.48 per game and stops over 95% of the shots she faces to also lead the league in save percentage. Halldorson talks about her season with the Lightning.
"We started off strong. We had some close games against some really good teams, and we ended up winning a few."
The netminder is looking forward to being able to play with the top talent Manitoba has to offer.
"It's quite an honour. I've looked up to some of these girls. They are talented. I always wanted to be like them," Halldorson shares. "Well, now I'm playing on the same team as them, and we're going to the Canada Winter Games together. It's going to be awesome, and it's going to help me improve my game as well."
During her time at Team Manitoba's Top 68 camp, Halldorson says she learned a ton from their coaching staff and notes she's looking forward to working with them again. The goalie talks about the most important thing they taught her this offseason.
"Just to play my own game and not worry about anyone else. Do the best I can, even if I don't succeed, at least I tried and left it all out there."
Halldorson and Portage's own Danika Botterill will head to Prince Edward Island early next year to try and capture a gold medal for Manitoba at the 2023 Canada Winter Games.