Craig Toycen – Owner

Craig Toycen and The Toycen Baseball Club purchased the Eau Claire Express in February of 2022. Craig was born and raised in Chippewa Falls, Wis. He’s a graduate of Saint John’s University (MN). He and his brother, Mike, are the 3rd generation to run the Toycen Dealerships, which have been a staple in the Chippewa Valley automotive scene since 1952. Craig and his wife, Holly, live in Chippewa Falls. They have two sons, Isaiah and Adrian.

Sammi Costello – General Manager

Sammi joined the Express full-time staff in the winter of 2018 as the Director of Ticket Sales and Community Involvement. In November of 2020, Sammi was named Assistant General Manager. In July of 2021, Sammi was named Interim General Manager and was announced as the first female General Manager of the Eau Claire Express in early 2022.

Before making her move to the midwest, Sammi had prior experience in baseball working with the Medford Rogues in the former Great West League and interned with the St. Paul Saints, the Minnesota Twins Triple-A affiliate.

Her time with the Rogues includes being the Community Relations Coordinator, hosting the inaugural All-Star Game of the Great West League in 2016, and the 2017 Championship Season.

In June 2018, Sammi graduated with a Public Relations degree from the University of Oregon and then moved out to the midwest.

Dale Varsho – Director of Operations / Field Manager

Dale has been the Express’s field manager since the inaugural 2005 season. The 2010 Northwoods League Manager of the Year has led the Express to the playoffs four times, winning Eau Claire’s first NWL Championship in 2010. The Express also reached the Championship Series in 2007 and 2016 and the Divisional Series in 2009. The 2023 season was his 18th as the team’s Director of Operations and Field Manager for the Express.

A native of Marshfield, Wis., Dale is no stranger to Eau Claire baseball, having played several years for the Eau Claire Cavaliers. He also served as an assistant coach at his alma mater, UW-Eau Claire. After a short coaching stint at UW-River Falls, Dale served as the head coach and Director of Facilities at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wis., from 1999-2001.

Dale and his wife Jennifer live in Eau Claire with their three children: Jake, Averie, and Christian.

Ben Teske Director of Food and Beverage

Ben joins the Express full-time as the Director of Food and Beverage after completing his Stadium Operations Internship with the organization during the 2021 season.

After graduating from Arcadia High (2019), he moved up to Eau Claire to complete his Associate of Applied Science degree in Business Management from Chippewa Valley Technical College (2020) and then transferred to UW-River Falls to complete his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Marketing (2021).

Michelle Hofacker – Director of Marketing

Michelle joined the Express full-time staff as the Director of Marketing in December of 2022. Before making her way to Eau Claire, Michelle graduated in 2022 with her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Marketing from UW-Green Bay. She started her career in baseball as an intern with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, High A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers, and also interned with the Green Bay Gamblers hockey team.

Paul Schommer – Public Address Announcer

Paul returned to the Express in 2016 as PA Announcer after a two-year hiatus. He previously held the position from 2006-2013. During his previous stint with the Express Paul had a role in ticket sales (2011) and public relations (2012). Paul previously spent 12 1/2 years as a Social Studies teacher at Hudson High School and has served as the “Voice of the Titans” at Tartan High School in Oakdale, Minn. where he did PA work for football, basketball, baseball and track and field.

Pete Knutson – Radio Broadcaster

Pete Knutson – NWL Baseball Network Broadcaster 

Pete is entering his 10th season in the broadcast booth in 2024 and will broadcast all home Express games on the Northwoods League Baseball Network. Pete has been honored as the Broadcaster of the Year in the Northwoods League three times (2023, 2019, 2016) and won a Wisconsin Broadcast Association 1st place award for play-by-play broadcasting for his work in the 2016 North Division Championship Game. Pete was also selected to broadcast the 2023 NWL Playoffs, including the NWL Championship Game. Pete filled a similar role in his first year with the Express in 2014 before spending 2015 full-time as the Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations. Pete is the voice of the UW-Stout Blue Devils and works as a professor in the UW-Eau Claire Department of Communication and Journalism.