Aspen Sterzer got to do an eastern swing with the Kamloops Blazers before Christmas, and now he’ll get to do an abbreviated one with the Red Deer Rebels.
The Blazers traded Sterzer, 19, to the Red Deer Rebels on Thursday in exchange for 19-year-old forward Matt Bellerive and a third-round pick in the 2014 WHL bantam draft. It was the Blazers’ second trade in two days, with the WHL’s trade deadline scheduled for today at 11 a.m., Pacific time.
When word came down of Thursday’s trade, Sterzer was in Spokane, where the Blazers are to play the Chiefs tonight. He took a plane to Seattle, from where he was to fly to Calgary last night.
After spending the night with his family in Calgary, Sterzer will hop another plane to Regina, where he will join his new teammates for the final two games of a Saskatchewan trip. He’s expected to debut with the Rebels tonight against the Warriors in Moose Jaw, with a Saturday game against the host Swift Current Broncos to follow.
If all of this seems familiar to Sterzer, it should — he and the Blazers completed a six-game trip to the east on Dec. 17, their last games before Christmas.
“I guess I’ll be back out there,” Sterzer said from a Seattle airport on Thursday evening.
“I’ve always enjoyed playing out there, so I’m excited.”
This deal wasn’t as big as the one the Blazers made with the Saskatoon Blades on Wednesday. In that one, they sent forward Mitch Lipon, 17, a first-round draft pick in 2015 and the rights to 17-year-old defenceman Jordan Thomson to Saskatoon in exchange for 17-year-old forward Matt Revel, a third-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft and a conditional 2014 second-round draft pick.
Sterzer, a native of Canal Flats, was in his third full season in the WHL, and was a fan favourite for his hard work and seemingly fearless play.