We usually refer to Rachael as one of our Florida Whale, along with Grace Klienbach, Huey Huertas, Stephanie Mock who all played together in Season Three and as youngsters with Team Florida. But, she was actually born a bit further north, in Salisbury, Maryland. Rachael explained “Yes, basically I spent the first 3-4 years of my life in Maryland. I was born there, but most of my life I’ve lived in Florida. That’s why I put that to be my home town.” We noted that a few other Whale also hailed from Maryland, like her Lindsay Berman, Haley Skarupa, and her Season Four teammate Sam Walther.
Rachael revealed “Haley Skarupa was one that we used to play against each other. She was a year above me, but we played against the organization she was with when I was in Florida. Then we actually played against each other in the junior league, she ended up being on a team from that area called the Pride, ironically, I think I played against the organization she was with, Montgomery, when I played with Team Florida when I was still U12 or so. . But then in Juniors, when I went to the Boston Shamrocks, she was playing on the Pride, and that’s when I played directly against her.”
Cetacean Nation also inquired about some recent travel Rachael had done in California, and learned a little more about her personal geography. She told us
"My locational status is a little complicated over the past few years.and even though I’m originally from Florida, that’s where my parents lived for most of my life. The same year I moved to Connecticut they moved to Cali. So now I go home and visit my family there in California which is pretty cool. And they have a house in SoCal, in the Valley near Palm Springs, very much a desert area. So I was visiting them and I got to see all the pets. They’ve got a new puppy, and I got to see my Mom’s tortoise, which is pretty cool. He lives outside and kind of runs around, and we feed him lots of lettuce. He loves that lettuce! And both of my sisters were home. So It was a really great time. I didn’t think I would like the desert but upon visiting it, I thought is was cool. So much more than you would expect out of a desert.” Fins Up to that!
Last year when we interviewed former Whale Assistant Coach Mike Bonelli, he remarked that he had seen Rachael play some rec league games and that she looked strong and fast. We wondered if that was part of her offseason training, and how she had been able to adapt in terms training during the pandemic. Rachael has always had speed, but Cetacean Nation thought she looked really quick in her shifts at Lake Placid. she responded
"Thank you. It’s one of the skills or pieces of my game that I’m always trying to work on, being a bigger player in the girls game. With the pandemic it was definitely tough. I wasn’t able to skate for a good portion of it, the whole country was in a hard lockdown. But what I ended up doing, I actually Face Timed home almost every night on a weeknight with my sisters. And every night we would basically do an at home workout. Every day I’d kind of clear a space in my little apartment, and we would do multiple sets of multiple exercises. We’d work out for an hour or two, sometimes doing cardio as well. Just to try and stay fit through all of that because it was really hard. But I think a big thing for me in terms of the off-season and I think what helped help me most in terms of continuing to develop, I kind of let go of some of the structure that the college work out always had. In terms of how everyone is really doing the exact same thing. I kind of looked at giving myself a little more of what people are doing to increase their speed with sprints and hip flexors and what not. And just overall finding what works best for me. So I still format my workouts pretty similar in terms of the actual overall structure, but I change some of the exercises and some of the things that I do that fits more with me and my goals as a hockey player. Instead of just continuing to do the same routine stuff. And I think that’s probably the biggest thing that I could speak to, to maybe allow me to look a little quicker.”
She added “And then basically I play on a men’s league team” she chuckled "which is where Mike would have seen me. The guys are great. A bunch of them have played some pretty high level club hockey or maybe even some DIII stuff. And so it’sone of those things that no matter how far they’ve gone, guys just have different muscles, they’re bigger than you. So the speed of the game, the way they’re making decisions, it pushes you. Even just getting your cardio in, I’m skating up and down the ice and my one stride while maybe efficient in general, I still need three of them to match a guy who is 6’5” " she laughed. "So that helps too! “
Rachael mentioned her sisters, and fans who have followed her social media have come to know that her younger two sisters, Rebekah and Raquel are hockey players as well. We asked Rachael for an update on how their careers are going, and how much she still coaches or advise them. And what they are feeding Rebekah, because she is now taller than her! She laughed and said
“We always joke that she stole a little height from my middle sister! We attribute a lot of her growth to her sleeping. When I was at UVM, she would visit with my Dad or my Mom, and she’d be up for everything. And then all of a sudden when she would travel back, she would like sleep for two days straight. Through all the commute, between driving and flying, and just be wiped out for a whole other day. She always was sleeping! She’s a little better lately, but that’s probably what did it."
she continued “Raquel is actually going to the University of New England, that’s my middle sister. So she’ll be playing for them this upcoming season. And then Rebekah is going to be playing for Ironbound in New Jersey. She will be housing in New Jersey so she can go to practice and all that regularly. Basically Rebekah is an ‘03 so she could be a senior this year. But between their two ages being so close and Racquel just going to college, she’s going to look to go to college in about two years from now. Having the ability to go a little later, especially when you’re playing sports, she’ll have the advantage of that. I feel like for all the sacrifices they made in terms of getting dragged around to rinks when I was younger, I can at least give them a little publicity if I’m talking to someone.” We are sure all of the fans will be keeping an eye out for them as they continue their journey in hockey as well.