Summer Hockey School

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:  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.



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

Body positioning

First step explosiveness

Direction changes and advanced pivots

Stride activation, optimization and analysis


Learn techniques that elite players use to keep from being knocked off the puck

Utilizing weight transfer

Center of gravity

Muscle memory

Inside and outside edge work


Gain confidence after mastering passing fundamentals

Hand positioning

Weight transfer

Puck cradling

Indirect passing and area passing

Anticipating target trajectory


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

Puck protection

Anticipating target trajectory


Proper checking techniques of how to deliver and receive checks

Proper body positioning (head, shoulders, elbows, hips)

Weight distribution and transfer

Utilizing edges

Anticipating, avoiding and receiving checks