Elmer Walls, who died Monday after a battle with cancer, was known as one of the area's top hockey enthusiasts.
Walls, who lived on White Sand Lake in Baxter, was in the midst of serving his fourth consecutive term as president of Minnesota Hockey, equaling the longest term served in the 55 year history of the governing body of amateur hockey in Minnesota.
"We are both shocked and deeply saddened to learn of Elmer's passing," said Mark Jorgensen, executive administrator of Minnesota Hockey. "Elmer touched the lives of many youth players, coaches and administrators within the hockey family both in Minnesota and across the United States.
"His strong character and dedicated friendship will be missed, but remembered, by all."
Walls' extensive involvement in hockey began as a player in International Falls and took him to Harvard University where he played for one season before to transferring to the University of Minnesota where he played two years on the hockey team prior to graduation.
He received the Presidents Award from Minnesota Hockey in 1987 and was elected as the organization's top officer in 1994.
Under his leadership Minnesota Hockey grew membership to new heights, hired its first full-time employee and embarked upon a corporate marketing campaign that became a model for youth hockey organizations nationwide.
Walls, who worked at Potlatch in Brainerd, personally spearheaded a coaching screening program designed to protect youth hockey players by obtaining thorough background checks for certified coaches.
In addition to his many duties with Minnesota Hockey, he served as the Minnkota District Director for USA Hockey and was a member of USA Hockey's Youth Council.
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