The Wisconsin Windigo NAHL hockey club is pleased to announce that we will conduct, in collaboration with the Eagle River Recreation Association, the 50th annual summer hockey school in Eagle River, WI, during June and July of 2023. Windigo head coach Blake Hietala and assistant coach Casey Kirley will be joined by a number of professional, college and junior A hockey players in delivering an exceptional hockey development experience. Click here to learn more .
Hockey School Staff and Instructors (partial list):
Camp Director and Instructor: Blake Hietala – Head Coach, Wisconsin Windigo
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.
Camp Assistant Director and Instructor: Casey Kirley – Assistant Coach, Wisconsin Windigo
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).
Camp Instructor: Justin DeMartino – Head Coach, Fox Motors 18U Tier 1; Director of Scouting, Wisconsin Windigo
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.
Camp Instructor: Micah Stipech – Assistant Coach, Houghton High School; Regional Scout, Wisconsin Windigo
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.
Camp Instructor: Barrett Kaib – Assistant Coach, Marquette High School; Director, Marquette School of Hockey
Barrett hails from Upper St. Clair, PA. Barrett was a member of the U.S. National Team Development Program for two years and competed as a member of the U.S. National Team as a defenseman in the U17 and U18 World Junior Championships in 2010 and 2011. Barrett went on to play Junior hockey for the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL. He played college hockey at Providence College and Northern Michigan University. He played professional hockey briefly with the Rapid City Rush of the ECHL before injuries brought his professional career to an end. Barrett has been an assistant coach at Marquette (MI) High School for the past three years and is the co-founder of the Marquette School of Hockey. Barrett also coaches the Wisconsin Windigo 18U and 16U teams in the NAPHL.
Camp Instructor: Aaron Beutenmiller – Goalie Coach, Marquette School of Hockey
Aaron is a Tecumseh, MI, native and was a goaltender for two seasons of Junior hockey in the NAHL and a squad member for four season at Northern Michigan University. Aaron currently coaches goaltending for the Marquette School of Hockey and the Northern Wisconsin Blizzards AAA youth hockey program. Aaron also coaches the Wisconsin Windigo 18U and 16U teams in the NAPHL.
Camp Instructor: Ray Brice – Professional Hockey Player, Kalamazoo Wings- ECHL
Ray is a native of Houghton, MI, where he played four years of D-1 college hockey for Michigan Technological University. Ray was captain in his senior year at Michigan Tech. Prior to college, Ray played Junior hockey for two seasons in the North American Hockey League. Ray is in his third season of professional hockey, currently playing with the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL. Ray earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Michigan Tech and practices civil engineering part-time while playing professional hockey. He has coached for the Northern Wisconsin Blizzards AAA program and has been an instructor at the Eagle River hockey school for the past two summers.
Camp Instructor: Billy Feczko – College Hockey Player, University of Wisconsin – River Falls
Billy hails from Bloomfield Hills, MI, and currently plays D-3 college hockey for the University of Wisconsin – River Falls. Billy played four season of Junior A hockey in the North American Hockey League and is a two-time NAHL Robertson Cup Champion. First with the Shreveport Mudbugs and then with the New Jersey Titans in 2022.
Hockey School Teaching Model
The 50th annual Eagle River Recreation Association summer hockey school, presented by the Wisconsin Windigo, will provide age-appropriate skill development focused on the following areas with an emphasis on transferrable skills/tactics in fundamental areas of concentration.
Learn proper techniques to maximize stride and improve efficiency
First step explosiveness
Direction changes and advanced pivots
Stride activation, optimization and analysis
BALANCE & AGILITY
Learn techniques that elite players use to keep from being knocked off the puck
Utilizing weight transfer
Center of gravity
Inside and outside edge work
PASSING & RECEIVING
Gain confidence after mastering passing fundamentals
Indirect passing and area passing
Anticipating target trajectory
SHOOTING & SCORING
Learn to optimize your shot as with proper shooting techniques
Correct hand and grip positioning
Weight transfer to take advantage of stick’s flex
Shot selection – wrist, snap. slapshot and backhand
Shooting for deflections and tip-ins
Recognizing net presence
Gain insight on the mindset it takes to be effective at successive levels
Fakes & dekes
Anticipating target trajectory
Proper checking techniques of how to deliver and receive checks
Proper body positioning (head, shoulders, elbows, hips)
Weight distribution and transfer
Anticipating, avoiding and receiving checks