Some time in the coming years, Bolton Pouliot will officially join Aspen Sterzer's family.
As far as Sterzer is concerned, Pouliot already is a part of the family.
Pouliot, a goaltender, and Sterzer, a forward, are teammates with the Kamloops Blazers, who are at home to the Victoria Royals tonight, 7 o'clock, at Interior Savings Centre. Although they've only been teammates with the Blazers for about a month, their friendship goes back six years, and will undoubtedly last a lifetime.
Pouliot, 19, is engaged to be married to Sterzer's sister, Sierra, a 20-year-old University of Calgary student.
"I love Bolton - he's a part of our family," says Aspen Sterzer. "We've known each other since first-year bantam . . . ever since, he's been a part of the family."
Sterzer was born in Canal Flats but his family moved to Calgary after a horrific car accident in November 2006 left his mom a quadriplegic.
Sterzer ended up playing alongside Pouliot with the Calgary Southwest Royals bantam team, and they became fast friends during the 2007-08 season. As the season ended, Pouliot and Sierra started dating.
The rest, they say, is history.
"We had a great year there. I met his sister at the end of the season, around provincials," says Pouliot, a Calgary native. "It'll be six years in March. But Aspen and I, we have a great relationship."
The wedding date hasn't been set, but it mostly likely will be in the next year or two. Sierra, who is looking to become a doctor or dentist, will have to finish her undergraduate degree first, Pouliot said.
According to Aspen Sterzer, Pouliot was always a hit with the family, but needed to be moulded a little. Goaltenders are notoriously quirky, and Pouliot fit the description.
"When he first started dating my sister, he was worse," Sterzer says. "I've worked on him over the years - he used to wear his hat sideways and do the gangster thing. My dad and I got him into shape a bit, and he no longer does that."
Pouliot and Sterzer genuinely seem like the closest of friends, even in the world of sports, where affection is often passed around by way of insult. Sterzer did celebrate a little too much, however, when he ripped a shot over Pouliot's glove hand and popped the water bottle late in Thursday's practice.
"Normally he gets my number, and he always lets me know about it," says Sterzer. "I make sure when I get him, I let him know about it."
It's nothing personal.
"I couldn't ask for a better brother in-law, I'll tell you that," Pouliot says. "Even when I was in Red Deer, we talked all the time. He's been very supportive."
When both players made it to the WHL - Sterzer in Kamloops, Pouliot with the Red Deer Rebels - they often joked about ending up on the same team.
It happened on Sept. 9, when the Blazers traded a sixth-round selection in the 2016 bantam draft to Red Deer. The only person happier than Sterzer, it seems, was Pouliot, who had asked Red Deer general manager and head coach Brent Sutter for a trade.
"I talked to Brent over the summer about a trade," Pouliot says. "It happened to be here. It's a blessing to be able to come and play for this organization. It's a first-class organization and a bonus to play with (Sterzer) at the same time."
For some reason, Pouliot has a knack for timing - his trade to Kamloops came on Sterzer's 19th birthday. A year earlier, on the day Sterzer turned 18, he proposed to Sierra.
"He stole my day from me," Aspen Sterzer says, with a laugh. "I guess any big event is going to go down on my birthday . . ."
JUST NOTES: Kamloops also is at home to the Prince George Cougars on Saturday, 7 p.m. . . . F Devin Oakes, who was listed in the WHL's weekly injury report as "TBD" with an "upper-body injury" took part in full practice Thursday. . . . The Blazers will be without F Cole Ully, who will sit out the first game of a two-game suspension for a checking from behind major and game misconduct he took in Saturday's 3-1 loss in Prince George. . . . Former Kamloops F Chase Schaber, who served as captain from 2010-12, has signed with the ECHL's Bakersfield Condors. Schaber went to training camp with the AHL's Oklahoma City Oil Barons. He spent last season with the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns, before joining the ECHL's Idaho Steelheads late in the season - he had two goals in 11 regular-season games with Idaho, and 10 points, including eight assists, in 17 playoff games.
Former Blazers D Tyler Bell, who was traded to the Moose Jaw Warriors in the deal that brought Joel Edmundson to town last season, was suspended one game for a boarding major and game misconduct he took in a Saturday game against the Saskatoon Blades. He sat out Wednesday's 4-2 loss to the Tigers in Medicine Hat but is eligible to return tonight against the visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Kelowna Rockets resolved their 20-year-old situation Wednesday, sending D MacKenzie Johnston to the Prince Albert Raiders for a 2015 third-round bantam draft pick. The Raiders (5-0-0) are the WHL's last undefeated team, and are set to play host to the Edmonton Oil Kings tonight. . . . The Rockets still have 20-year-old F Myles Bell and F Zach Franko, along with 20-year-old G Jordon Cooke. . . . All five B.C. Division teams are at (or, in the case of the Cougars, under) the limit of three 20-year-olds. The 20-year-old deadline is Oct. 15.