It didn’t take long for the newest Red Deer Rebel to make an impact.
In his first game Aspen Sterzer managed to score once and added a pair of helpers in a 4-3 win over Moose Jaw.
It went a long way in helping the 19-year-old forward break the ice after coming over from Kamloops.
“Coming into a new team, it’s the first time I’ve been traded,” said Sterzer. “Coming in and not knowing any of the guys it’s definitely a great feeling to come in and have some success right away.”
Playing on a line with Presten Kopeck and Conner Bleackley was a treat for Sterzer and he credits his linemates for making it easier to fit into an established group.
“Both guys are very talented players and it’s a real pleasure to actually get an opportunity to play with those guys.”
Sterzer had played 10 games as a call up with the Blazers when he was 16 and then stuck with the team for the next two years and a bit before he was told he was being shipped off to Red Deer.
“I was in Spokane and the team was actually just going out to practice and I got the call that I had been traded to Red Deer,” said Sterzer. “Immediately I was just super excited for the opportunity to come here.”
What excited him quite a bit was the chance to learn under Head Coach Brent Sutter, a man he respects and to do his part in order to help the Rebels get into the post season party, something which wasn’t going to happen in Kamloops.
“I’ve always considered myself an aggressive and hard-working player. I always finish my checks and I try to add some scoring where possible and this year I’ve had some success doing that (19 goals in 44 games),” he said. “But I plan on being physical and hard to play against every night and doing the best I can to help this team.”
Having played against the Rebels a handful of times during his WHL career Sterzer says he knew a little bit about the players he now calls his teammates but agrees there will be changes to be made on his part to get on the same page and break ties with Kamloops.
“You’ve been with a lot of those guys most of your career and then all of a sudden you’re coming to a new team, new guys, people you’ve heard of but don’t really know,” he said. “You know I didn’t really know too many guys in Red Deer other than Brady (Gaudet) who I played with when I was younger but it’s just different coming to a new group of guys but everybody has been awesome.”
He has since settled in with his new billet family in Red Deer and is now working towards learning the system his coaches have in place and he likes what he sees in this team as they battle for the playoff spot.
“It’s a very young team, similar to Kamloops but right away I noticed how much skill and how much talent we have here. We’ve got a really great group of young guys and I’m just going to try to be a leader and mentor and try to point us in the right direction and do the best I can.”
He also admits he has not circled Feb. 26th on the calendar – the day Kamloops comes to Red Deer, but he is looking forward to an on-ice reunion.
“It’s exciting to play my old team and see the guys again but I’m excited and hopefully we can beat them.”