Come fly with me: Evan Sarthou turns in goalie pads for pilot wings

KENNEWICK — Playing in the Tri-City Americans organization is a dream job for young goaltenders.

From Olie Kolzig to Carey Price and Eric Comrie, the Americans have provided world-class instruction and opportunities for their goalies.

Evan Sarthou, 24, is among the list of outstanding goalies who have pulled on a Tri-City jersey, but there has always been a bigger dream at the end of the day for the native of Black Diamond, Wash.
“Since I was 5 years old, I was interested in being a pilot,” Sarthou said.

Before his final year of eligibility in the Western Hockey League, Sarthou hung up his skates and turned his focus to the big blue skies.

“I was ready to retire,” Sarthou said. “My body was in a lot of pain. I’ve played beer league a few times, but I’m too competitive. Maybe I’d play as a player, but not as a goalie.”

Sarthou said he still has lingering aches and pains in his hips and knees from playing hockey, but he wouldn’t trade his time on the ice.

“The NHL was my goal for a while, but my body started to fail,” he said. “I have no regrets. I haven’t looked back.”

The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder spent four seasons (2013-17) with the Americans, playing 60 games during the 2015-16 season, where he had a 3.46 goals against average and a .888 save percentage. The team went 35-34-0-3 that season.

That team featured leading scorer Parker Bowles, and Parker Wotherspoon, Michael Rasmussen, Brandon Carlo, Juuso Valimaki, Morgan Geekie and Dylan Coghlan, who would later find their names on NHL and AHL rosters.

Sarthou played 129 games with a 51-59-4-3 record. He had a combined 3.46 goals against average, a .895 save percentage and nine career shutouts.

In his second season, Sarthou had seven shutouts, one shy of the single-season record set by Carey Price.

“Anytime you are in the same wavelength as Carey Price, it’s pretty cool,” Sarthou said. “I grew up watching Carey. I was awestruck.”

Sarthou was invited to participate in Team USA’s training camp for the 2017 World Junior Hockey Championship.

“That camp was nice, but winning gold at the U-18 championships was cooler,” he said.

Sarthou wasted no time in going from the ice to an airplane.

“I went from no experience to my pilot’s license in two two years,” he said. “Part of that is my work ethic from hockey.”

Sarthou started working at Bergstrom Aircraft in May 2021. He did aerial surveys for farmers, gave scenic tours, and taught flight instruction.

“Malin (Bergstrom) was my billet mom,” Sarthou said. “She knew I was close to finishing my program and encouraged me to submit a resumé. I had to go through the whole interview process and everything. It was very professional. I’ve liked working here. They are great people.”

After four seasons with the Tri-City Americans, Evan Sarthou retired to pursue his dream of being a pilot.

Sarthou recently began his training to be a commercial pilot. He has two months of ground school before he becomes a first officer.

“Hockey has prepared me for a life outside of hockey,” he said. “There is a difference between athletes and non athletes when it comes to work ethic.”

Part of Sarthou’s training will be in a $20 million simulator, then he will have initial operating experience in a plane.

“I’m excited to move on to something bigger and faster,” he said. “There are 120 souls who are my responsibility,” he said, “so it is kinda scary.”

Sarthou’s dream plane to fly is a Boeing 787, and being a pilot will give him an opportunity to travel and see the world.

“I love being in an airplane,” Sarthou said. “Anytime I can be in a plane, it’s the greatest thing in the world.”



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