The Backyard Axe Throwing League
The Home of Axe Throwing Since 2006

Our Corporate Team

Meet some of our amazing staff

Nothing we do would be possible without the amazing people we have working with us.  Based in Toronto, our head office team often goes unnoticed – but we like it better that way.  Some may be more handy with a computer than an axe, but we each share the same passion that unites the entire BATL Family.  #BATLBUILDS teamwork

Matt Wilson

Founder & CEO


The Godfather of axe throwing.  This guy will find a way over, around or through just about anything that stands between him and his passion.  Who else could have turned a cottage pastime into a global sport?

Before BATL, Matt spent his career learning the ropes of the hospitality business in Toronto.  Legend has it that his time at Second City is still considered the golden era of improv.

Brian Simmons

Chief Operating Officer


Brian has overseen operations and expansion since joining BATL in 2014.  Before BATL he spent his career building disruptive digital companies from upstart to world domination in Canada, the United States and Europe.

Legend has it that he’s backpacked through over 60 countries, and he’s most definitely the worst axe thrower we’ve ever hired.

John Hillis

Chief Marketing Officer


John brings a wealth of experience having previously worked in senior marketing roles at Virgin, RBC, Microsoft and Zag Bank. He will lead the development of BATL’s identity as the world’s original and largest urban axe throwing organization.

On the side, John pays it forward with the next generation of marketing professionals as co-founder of M2T Collective.

Jamieson Cochrane

Chief Talent & Culture Officer


Jamieson’s aim is to cultivate our work and play communities, fostering an engaging, productive environment to promote axe throwing. He joined BATL in 2018 after gigs supporting development of incredible teams at MuchMusic & Spin Master.

When not at BATL sharing his quirky energy, he is likely cycling, crushing trivia, or extending his three year run completing the NY Times Daily Crossword.

David Clark

United States Managing Director


As Managing Director of US Operations, Dave leads all facets of BATL’s operation across the United States.

Prior to joining BATL in 2018 he was a key figure in scaling SoulCycle across the USA, and part of the founding team of Citibike NYC.

Based in New York City, Dave is an urban explorer, adventure seeker and delicious food finder.

Ryan Thorsley

Head of Finance & Regulatory Affairs


Ryan holds responsibility for financial operations and all aspects of compliance for BATL.  Prior to joining us in 2015 he obtained an MBA from the Schulich School of Business, and held senior government and private sector positions in both the energy and environmental industries.

He is a passionate musician and a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces Reserve.

Chris Collins

Head of Product & Software Development


Originally a league member, Chris officially joined the BATL team in 2016. Since then, he’s combined technical skill and love of the sport to bring axe throwing into the digital age.

Before BATL, Chris was a senior developer in the insurance industry.  He holds a Physics degree from U. Waterloo.  Legend has it that he’s seen The Big Lebowski too many times, but apparently not enough.

Diane Stolte

Marketing & Insights Manager


Since joining us in 2017, after completing her Master of Digital Media at Ryerson University, Diane has overseen all facets of our digital identity and brand development.

Before BATL she held progressively senior marketing roles, including with dentalcorp Canada.  Legend has it she plans to climb every mountain, and plant BATL’s flag on Mt. Everest.

Nick LaFace

Expansion & Training Operations Manager


Originally a league member, Nick first joined the team in 2014 as an axe throwing coach in our Pickering location, and has since worked as a venue General Manager, as well as overseeing Business Development before stepping into his current role as our engine of growth.

Before BATL Nick worked as a retail operations manager with Best Buy.  His love of spicy food is legendary … challenge him.

Ian Christensen

League Manager


Ian Bobby has been a part of the BATL Family since the original Backyard days in 2008.  Starting as an Event Leader before becoming GM in Yorkdale, and now serving as League Manager to drive growth of our League community and sport.

Legend has it that Ian has been a wrestling coach, country music singer, and funeral director before becoming the Axe Wizard as he is known today.

Matt Wito

Regional Operations Manager


Wito ensures we’re always delivering an incredible customer experience across all BATL locations in Canada.  He joined the BATL in 2015, as part of the founding team at Tomahawks Axe Throwing in London ON.

A former Canadian Forces Reservist, legend has it that he’s used to being on the move.  Matt’s lived in 3 cities with BATL – recently moving to Toronto after 2 years as GM in Ottawa.

Jennifer Benedict

Office & Customer Service Manager


J​en​b​en’s time at BATL goes back to the original backyard in 2008, and she’s our first female league champion to boot.

A Second City Conservatory​ grad – Jen is deeply passionate about community, and has over 10 years of experience in both hospitality and customer service leadership roles.  Word on the street is that you can still hear echos of her swearing in the backyard.​

Ali Sial

Staff Accountant


A master of maths and a wizard with spreadsheets, Ali started with BATL in 2018, and has been making our world much more orderly ever since.

Before BATL, Ali worked at progressively more senior accounting positions at M.A.C.  Ali holds a Bachelor of Commerce from McMaster University, and when not in the office you might find him playing some b-ball or hiking the Himalayas.