Jim began at Minnehaha Academy where he was leading scorer both his junior and senior years. He set a league season scoring record his senior year in 1950, as Minnehaha won the League Championship and qualified for the State Private School Tournament. After graduation, Jim worked for 1 year, and then spent the next 2 years at Bethel College playing football (Bethel did not have a hockey program at that time) and in the winter Jim played Senior Open U.S. Hockey, a classification which allowed reinstated professionals to play. In 1953, Jim transferred to St. Cloud State where he played football and hockey. He was the leading scorer for the Huskies in each of his three years at St. Cloud. Following graduation from college, Jim continued to play hockey on many Championship Senior Open U.S. Hockey teams.
After his playing career was over, Jim became an Assistant Coach at Minnehaha Academy for three years from 1950-53. Upon transferring to St. Cloud from Bethel, ho played one year in 1953-1954, and he was named by the Administration as Player/Coach for the 1954-55 and 1955-56 hockey seasons. Upon graduation in December 1956, and being unable to find a teaching position in the middle of the school year, Jim went back to Minnehaha as a volunteer Assistant Coach in Hockey for the 1956-57 seasons. Jim eventually was named Head Coach in Hockey, Football, and Baseball, and was a Biology teacher at Minnehaha from 1957-62, where he led Minnehaha to championships in each of the sports he coached. In 1962 Jim turned down an offer to coach hockey at Waterloo University in Kitchener Ontario, and instead, accepted a teachinq/hockey/football coaching position at West High School in Minneapolis. In 1982 when West H.S. closed, he moved to Washburn H.S. and coached Hockey for 1 year, then replaced the retiring Dave Peterson at, Minneapolis Southwest, coaching hockey from 1983 to 1992, when Jim himself, retired from the Minneapolis Public Schools. After moving to Ely, Minnesota in the spring of 1995, Jim was back in hockey as a full-time volunteer assistant coach to Head Coach Rob Bestul
During his coaching tenure in Minneapolis his teams won several Minneapolis City titles and in 1984, won the Twin City Hockey Championship. Jim’s overall record as a head coach was 456 wins, 272 losses, and 32 ties. His hockey Coaching career consists of years as a College Coach, 12 years as a volunteer High School Assistant Coach, and 35 years as a Head High School Coach, for a total of 49 years of Hockey Coaching.
Jim served as President of the Minnesota Hockey Coaches Association in the Iate 1960s, and has served on Minnesota Hockey Coaches committees with the State H.S. League throughout the years. In the early 1950’s & 1960’s Jim served as a store house of knowledge on the building, flooding and maintenance of outdoor hockey rinks, and was willing to share that knowledge with anyone. His over 160 suggestions/ideas were instruments in the development and construction of the now Parade Ice Gardens in Minneapolis.
Some of the citations awarded to Jim Baxter for Hockey are as follows: MSHSCA 25 year club inductee 1982; Minnesota HS Hockey Assoc. 35 year and 40 year service awards; Appreciation award - 30 years service to Minneapolis City Conference Hockey 1962-92; WCCO Coach of the week awards - (several); Section 5 Coach of the Year 1992; Coach of Maroon Team - Maroon/Gold All Star Game 1992; Award of Merit - Special School District #1 dedicated service to Hockey; Inducted in Minnesota Hockey Coaches Hall of Fame - 1993; Class A Section 7 Assistant Hockey Coach of the Year 2000; State Class A Assistant Hockey Coach of the Year 2000.
Jim currently resides with his wife Diane, in a log home he built, overlooking Burntside Lake outside of Ely, Minnesota.