Hockey Operations

Blake Hietala – Head Coach

blake@wisconsinjunjorhockey.com

Blake Hietala joined the Windigo as its first head coach effective May 1, 2022.  Prior to taking the helm for the Windigo, Hietala served four seasons as an assistant coach and one season as the Assistant Director of Scouting for the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL.   Hietala was the architect of a highly effective Gamblers’ power play for two seasons and assisted in the scouting and evaluation of future talent.  Prior to joining the Gamblers, the Houghton, Michigan native, served as an assistant coach and Director of Scouting with the USHL Madison Capitols for the 2017-18 season.  As a player, Hietala was a member of the NCAA Division-1 Michigan Tech Huskies for five seasons.  After overcoming injuries early in his college career, he became a valuable member of the Huskies contributing key goals on a Michigan Tech team that was ranked number one in the nation for a time during Blake’s tenure.  After graduation, Hietala played 104 professional games, splitting time between the ECHL and Southern Professional Hockey League.  Hietala retired as a player in 2017.

 


Casey Kirley – Assistant Coach

715-558-4254 | caseykirley@gmail.com

Casey Kirley was hired as Assistant Coach by the Windigo on May 1, 2022. Casey comes to the team after serving in a similar capacity with the Minnesota Magicians during the 2021 season, prior to the team’s move to Eagle River, Wis.

Prior to joining the Magicians, he most recently served as the Assistant Coach and Director of Recruiting with Trine University (NCAA).

Kirley served as the Assistant Coach for the Shreveport Mudbugs (NAHL) from 2017-2019.  While with the Mudbugs, the team won the South Division Regular Season and Playoff titles, en route to winning the Robertson Cup National Championship in 2018. Previously, Kirley served as the Assistant Coach/Assistant GM of the North Iowa Bulls (NA3HL), helping them to Central Division Regular Season and Playoff titles during both the 2016 and 2017 seasons. The Bulls advanced to the Fraser Cup National Championship in both seasons, winning the league in 2016.

Kirley’s first year coaching came with the Great Falls Americans (NA3HL) during the 2015 season. The team won the Frontier Division regular season and playoff titles, advancing to the Fraser Cup National Championship.

He also previously served as a scout with the Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL) and the Austin Bruins (NAHL). The Hayward, Wis., native played two seasons of junior hockey in the NAHL, before playing collegiately at UW-Stout (NCHA).


Justin DeMartino – Head Scout

Justin DeMartino joined the Windigo as Head Scout in May of 2022. He commenced his first season as Head Coach of the Fox Motors U18 Program with the start of 2022-23 season. Prior to joining Fox Motors, Justin most recently served as the Video Coach for the Grand Rapids Griffins in the AHL. A native of Macomb, Mich., DeMartino served as the assistant coach for the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League during the 2020-21 campaign. Prior to joining the Phantoms, DeMartino spent three years primarily as the associate head coach with the Topeka Pilots of the North American Hockey League. He was the team’s interim head coach for most of 2017-18 and added director of scouting duties in 2019-20. DeMartino also has experience in the college ranks with Ferris State University, where he served as an assistant coach and video coordinator during the 2016-17 season. DeMartino graduated from Ferris State in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in communications with a focus on sports communications. During his four-year playing career as a Bulldog, DeMartino racked up 12 goals, 25 assists and 37 points. The right winger helped the Bulldogs capture the Central Collegiate Hockey Association’s regular-season championship in 2011-12. Leading up to Ferris State, Justin played youth hockey for Detroit Little Caesars and was able to capture back to back National Championships in 2008 and 2009. Following the 2009 season, DeMartino was selected with the first overall pick in the 2009 USHL Entry Level Draft.


Micah Stipech – Scout

906-370-2348 | mstipech@wisconsinjuniorhockey.com

Micah Stipech is a professional educator who has experienced a long and successful career as a youth hockey, junior hockey, and college hockey coach, program builder, talent evaluator and player development specialist. Stipech’s focus has been to help athletes develop healthy habits in pursuit of character and athletic development – the ultimate goal being to help young athletes realizing their full potential, on and off the ice. Micah’s certifications include: USA Hockey Level 5 Coach, Hockey Canada Development 1 Coach, USA Weightlifting Level 1 Coach and State of Michigan Licensed School Counselor and Special Education Teacher. Micah earned a Bachelor Degree from Northern Michigan University in special education and elementary education, with a minor in psychology. In 2007, Micah achieved a Master of Arts Degree in Counseling Psychology from Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia.

Stipech deploys his wealth of knowledge and experience to the benefit of hundreds of students as a full-time school counselor. Micah’s coaching career commenced with 3 seasons as coach of the Whistler, BC, Rep Midget team. He has been a USA Hockey Coaching Education Program Instructor since 2011, where he is responsible for all USA Hockey coaching education in District 8 of Michigan. He served as a USA Hockey Evaluator from 2011-2019. He has contributed as an assistant high school hockey coach for 7 seasons. In 2015, he founded and served as the head coach of Team Copper Country, a split season Midget AA team that won back-to-back Tier 2 USA Hockey National Championships in 2017-2018. Micah was named USA Hockey Coach of the Month in October 2018. More recently, Micah has served as an assistant coach for the Finlandia University D-3 hockey program and the US Scout for the Drayton Valley Thunder of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.


Rick Gadwa – Michigan Scout

rick.gadwa@gmail.com

Rick Gadwa, a native of Brighton, Mich., is the Manager of Hockey Operations & Programming at the TPH Center of Excellence in Detroit. He graduated from Hartland High School, where he currently coaches the varsity boys hockey team. Rick was named the Herrington Coach of the Year for guiding his Michigan High School alma mater to its third state title in March or 2022. Gadwa is a graduate of Davenport University where he played three years of college hockey. He then went on to play semi-professional hockey for the Battle Creek Revolution in the AAHL. The father of three children resides in Brighton, Michigan.

 

 


Bob Jacobson – Midwest Regional Scout

Bob joins the Windigo staff as a Regional Scout for their inaugural season of 2022-23. Bob retired from coaching after 30 years, the last 17 of which he was the GM & Head Coach of the Cleveland Jr Lumberjacks Junior team who were a member of the CSHL and then the NA3HL. Since retiring from coaching he has been staying involved with the game as a scout for both Kenai River, NAHL, and Granite City, NA3HL. He graduated from Kent State University in 1978 where he played 4 years for their ACHA team

robertejacobsonjr@gmail.com | 216-407-3057


Taylor Carey – Midwest Regional Scout

Taylor Carey joined the Wisconsin Windigo in 2022 during their inaugural season. He’s currently serving as an Assistant Coach & Goaltending Coach for Central Michigan University, ACHA D2 team. He also scouts for the Granite City Lumberjacks in the NA3HL. Before working for CMU, Carey worked with Gaylord Blue Devils (USHS-MI) varsity hockey program the last nine years as an Associate Head Coach and Goaltending Development Coach. During that time, he also worked as a Goaltending Development Coach for Carey Goaltending Development, LLC and MI Crease Goaltending primarily working with goaltenders at every level privately including: AHL, ECHL, NCAA DI, NCAA DIII, USHL, NAHL and NA3HL.  Taylor currently resides in Gaylord, MI with his wife and one year old daughter, Millie. Prior, he attended Northern Michigan University in Marquette where he obtained a B.S. in Management of Health & Fitness. During his free time, he likes to travel the country and study under various coaches at any level and position due to his drive to develop himself as a coach and better understand the game.

tcarey90@icloud.com | 989-858-6076