Rebels lose another veteran as Aspen Sterzer packs it in

He played an aggressive, hard-hitting style during his first three years in the Western Hockey League, but Aspen Sterzer has apparently lost the passion to play at the major junior level. The 20-year-old forward failed to register for the Red Deer Rebels training camp Wednesday and has told general manager/head coach Brent Sutter that he’s decided to fulfill a promise to his parents and pursue an education.

He played an aggressive, hard-hitting style during his first three years in the Western Hockey League, but Aspen Sterzer has apparently lost the passion to play at the major junior level.

The 20-year-old forward failed to register for the Red Deer Rebels training camp Wednesday and has told general manager/head coach Brent Sutter that he’s decided to fulfill a promise to his parents and pursue an education.

“He hasn’t reported,” said Sutter, who isn’t closing the book on the energetic, five-foot-11, 187-pound product of Canal Flats, B.C., just yet. “We’ll stay patient with it and see what happens, but during my conversation with him he said he just didn’t feel he has the passion to play any more.

“He made that commitment to his family, to his mom and dad, that if he wasn’t at the pro level after his 19-year-old year that he would go to school.”

Sterzer enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2013-14, scoring 17 goals and collecting 32 points in 40 games with the Kamloops Blazers, and then contributing 12 goals and 21 points in 30 games with the Rebels after being acquired in a Jan. 10 trade that saw Sutter ship 19-year-old forward Matt Bellerive and a third-round bantam draft pick to Kamloops.

All along, Sutter had no reason to believe Sterzer wouldn’t be back in Red Deer as an overage WHL player.

“For us, it was disappointing. It caught us off guard,” said Sutter. “We didn’t expect it after our year-end exit meetings. He kept in contact with our coaches through the summer and was doing the conditioning stuff that was required of him.

“Then all of a sudden he changed his mind.”

The Rebels boss, however, won’t be losing any sleep over Sterzer’s absence from training camp this week. He lumps Sterzer in with any number of proven players who have decided to step away from the major junior game.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what they say, what the reasons are,” he said.

“The bottom line is they just don’t want to put in the time and effort and the commitment you truly have to make to play at this level.

“If the interest and passion isn’t there, then they shouldn’t do it. You’re wasting time doing something you really don’t want to be doing.”

Sterzer was unavailable for comment. His absence leaves the Rebels with three 20-year-olds in forward Brooks Maxwell and defencemen Brett Cote and Devan Fafard.

Just Posted

WATCH: UCP leader Jason Kenney makes stop in Red Deer

A rally was held in the north end of the city Saturday afternoon

Good-bye ice and snow, hello potholes on Red Deer roads

City workers will be spending 20 hours a day on various road repairs

Fog advisory in effect for Red Deer, central Alberta

Heavy fog is affecting visibility for central Alberta drivers Saturday morning. A… Continue reading

Climate change’s impact on outdoor hockey discussed in Red Deer

Red Deer River Watershed Alliance held a forum Friday at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame

Collision between Red Deer transit bus and truck investigated by RCMP

No one on bus was hurt, truck driver had minor injuries

WATCH: Fashion show highlights Cree designers

The fashion show was part of a Samson Cree Nation conference on MMIW

Montreal priest stabbed during mass leaves hospital; suspect to be charged

MONTREAL — A Catholic priest who was stabbed as he was celebrating… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $35.7 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $35.7 million jackpot… Continue reading

New report details impact of proposed NS spaceport in event of explosion or fire

HALIFAX — The head of a company proposing to open Canada’s only… Continue reading

Quebec man convicted in Mafia-linked conspiracy deported to Italy

MONTREAL — Michele Torre, a Quebec man convicted in 1996 for his… Continue reading

Republican Karl Rove says conservatives need more than simplistic slogans

OTTAWA — Legendary Republican campaign strategist Karl Rove, known for his no-holds-barred… Continue reading

B.C. hospital’s use as shelter ‘clarion call’ about housing crisis, says mayor

The 10-bed regional hospital that serves the medical needs of 5,000 people… Continue reading

Puddle splashing: A rite of spring

Is there anything more fun than driving through water-filled potholes in the… Continue reading

Special evaluations can help seniors cope with cancer care

Before she could start breast cancer treatment, Nancy Simpson had to walk… Continue reading

Most Read