When Jim Alley arrived in Anoka in the mid-1950s, something was conspicuously missing: youth hockey.

Alley had grown up playing the game in the hockey hotbed of Roseau, Minn., and he wanted to give kids in Anoka the same opportunities he’d had.

The longtime Anoka High School health education teacher persuaded school and city leaders to build outdoor rinks, complete with lights and warming houses. He started five youth teams, hired coaches and held fundraisers to pay for uniforms. In time, Anoka had a full-blown hockey program.

For his efforts, Alley was known as “The Father of Hockey” in Anoka.

“What made him famous is that he started it from scratch,” said his son, Steve, of Lake Forest, Ill., an Anoka High School graduate who played on the 1976 U.S. Olympic team.

Jim Alley died of complications from kidney failure on Jan. 31 at his home at Covenant Village in Westminster, Colo. He was 92.

Following in the footsteps of his father, Archie, Jim took to the rink as a child. By seventh grade, he was skating for the storied Roseau High School varsity team. After graduation, he served in the Navy for three years during World War II. While stationed in Guam, he was a radio operator charged with deciphering Japanese code to aid in locating enemy ships and planes. “It was an important job,” his son said.

Alley resumed his hockey career in 1946 at the University of Minnesota. After school, he played semipro hockey for four seasons with the Rochester Mustangs.

He started his coaching career in 1952 at Breck Academy, then in St. Paul, and won the Minnesota Independent High School championship. The next year he moved to Anoka High School, where he taught for 35 years. Alley became the school’s first high school hockey coach in 1954, and when he called his first player meeting, he found “few players had decent skates, and none had played organized hockey,” according to a history of Anoka High School hockey that appeared in the Tornadoes’ 2015-16 program.

That’s when he went to work persuading school district and city leaders to put up rinks at Sorenson, Lincoln, Franklin, Champlin and Wilson elementary schools. The youth programs became a feeder program for the high school team. Alley, who compiled an 81-98 win-loss record in 10 seasons as head coach, was inducted in 2011 as a charter member of the Anoka High School Hall of Fame.

One of Alley’s former players, Gary Lund, a 1964 Anoka High graduate, wrote a tribute to the affable and engaging coach that appeared in the Anoka County Union in 2006.

“Most thought we were nuts. Most thought he was nuts.

“Setting up the hockey boards on a cold, windy November afternoon, we watched as the late fall wind toppled each section of the two-thirds-completed project — one section at a time.

“Most thought we were nuts. Most thought he was nuts.

“Years later, we watch a mostly successful Anoka hockey program.

“Most thought we were nuts. Most thought he was nuts.

“Most don’t remember who we are — early Anoka hockey players. But we remember. Today’s players should remember, too. He’s the nut responsible — the father of Anoka hockey — Jim Alley.

“Most thought we were nuts. Most thought he was nuts.

“Thanks, Mr. Alley — you made Anoka hockey.”

Alley was also an active member of Zion Lutheran Church in Anoka.

Besides his son, Steve, Alley is survived by his wife of 65 years, Marjorie; another son, Tom, of Columbine Valley, Colo., a sister, Doris Haukebo, six grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Services have been held.