Coaches

HEAD COACH

Jesse Messier

jmessier@fightingwalleye.com

Jesse had a long and successful playing career, which included 4 seasons in the OHL, 5 years in USports, and 2 seasons in the ECHL where he won a Kelly Cup as a part of the Allen Americans in 2015.

Jesse was named captain of the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors for his final 2 seasons and was voted as the Eastern Conference most underrated player and 3rd best defensive forward in the 2008 coaches' poll.  He was named to the OUA West All-Rookie team in 2009-10, and the OUA West 2nd All-Star team in 2011-12, while playing for York University (where he was team captain for four seasons).  Jesse finished his York career as the 6th leading scorer in program history.

Beginning his coaching career in 2015, Jesse was an assistant with York for 4 seasons, winning a Queen's Cup as OUA champions in 2017. He then went on to be an assistant coach with the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL from 2019 to 2023, winning a West division title in 2019-2020. Jesse is committed to helping his players develop and grow on and off the ice, to achieve their long-term goals.

 

 

 

ASSISTANT COACH

Dylan Butler

Dylan grew up in Thunder Bay where he played all of his minor hockey finishing his minor career where he served as an assistant captain of the Major Midget Kings.

Following his final year with the Kings Dylan went to the Manitoba Junior Hockey League where he played two seasons with the Portage Terriers and one with the Dauphin Kings. In those 3 years Dylan played a major role in his teams making it to the Junior A National Championship twice.

Following a successful junior career Dylan moved home to Thunder Bay to play for the Lakehead Thunderwolves where he served as an assistant captain for two years along with winning the teams MVP, best offensive player, and the schools “Argus Award”.

Dylan left Lakehead with a Degree in Commerce majoring in finance, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Economics.

He now works as a financial consultant with IG Wealth Management and has been with the Fighting Walleye as an assistant coach since the club's inception in 2020.

ASSISTANT COACH

Kurtis McCallum

GOALIE COACH

Kari Rikkonen

Kari was born in Thunder Bay and played his minor hockey with the Thunder Bay Kings AAA program. After playing one year in the SIJHL (Superior International) for the Thunder Bay Bulldogs
& high school graduation, Kari moved to St Catharines, ON to attend Brock University, majoring in Kinesiology with a minor in Sociology.

During his years in St. Catharines he played in the GOJHL (Greater Ontario) for the Welland Jr. Canadians where he earned Welland’s 3 Star Award in 2009, recognition as two time OHA
Player of the Month, as well as an MVP nomination in the Golden Horseshoe Conference. In his over-age year, Kari was traded to the Brantford Golden Eagles (now Caledonia Corvairs) where he ended his junior career.

Kari returned to school in 2018 at Texas A&M TEEX in College Station, TX to attend Fire College and now works as a career Firefighter for the City of Thunder Bay.

After graduation, Kari returned back to Thunder Bay and began working with local minor hockey goaltenders through the Thunder Bay Kings program (2017-2019), Fox School of Hockey, & Zulie’s Goalie Academy. He is currently working with Hockey Canada & the WHL in the NCCP Goaltender Coach Certification Program in hopes to work with Provincial and National High Performance teams in the future.

TRAINER

Taylor Metzger aka “Bulldog

A native of Thunder Bay, he is beginning his first ever role as a trainer/equipment manager for the Fighting Walleye. He graduated from St. Cloud State University with a Sports Management degree. During the summer months he works with the Thunder Bay Bordercats as a clubhouse manager. Bulldog is an avid San Jose Shark, New York Yankee and Kansas City Chief fan.