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Special Needs Athletes To Play At Ice Station Valencia For SNAP Hockey

Special Needs Athletes To Play At Ice Station Valencia For SNAP Hockey

Santa Clarita Valley special needs athletes will take the ice to support their own cause Saturday at Ice Station Valencia, in an attempt to raise money for a team trip.

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A Saturday skate-a-thon from 2-7 p.m. at Ice Station Valencia is scheduled to raise money for a team trip to an international hockey tournament later this year.

For the first part of the event, athletes and coaches will skate for 60 minutes continuously, akin to a walk-a-thon, with sponsorships going toward the SNAP program.A team picture for the Valencia SNAP Flyers, courtesy of the SNAP Flyers website

“What makes this unique is that the special needs athletes themselves are out raising money for themselves, which gives them a sense of need, pride and ownership,” said Dave Chase, who’s coordinating the event as executive director of the fairly nascent SNAP Hockey program.

“SNAP (or Special Needs Athletes and Peers), Sports is designed to create alternative sports for special  needs athletes,” Chase said. “It’s not our goal to compete with Special Olympics just to offer sports they don’t, or that aren’t usually associated with that.”

The Los Angeles County Firefighters Hockey Club is also scheduled to play a brief scrimmage with the Valencia SNAP Flyers at 6 p.m.

The SNAP Sports organization is a growing charity that plans to add flag football in the summer, Chase said.

However, Saturday’s skate-a-thon will be all about raising money to help the athletes participate in an international tournament in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada next March.

“100 percent of the money raised is going to helping the team to an international competition,” Chase said, noting that many of the athletes, due to their various special needs, rely on outside assistance, and most would not be able to afford the trip without help.

The Valencia team, which plays its home games at the Ice Station, is one of about 60 throughout the country, although most are based in the Northeast and Midwest, Chase said. 

The goal is $25,000, and he’s already received quite a bit of help, he said.

A picture of the Valencia SNAP Flyers practice, courtesy of the SNAP Flyers websiteCasey and Beckie Warloe, a brother and sister who volunteer as coaches for the program, offered on Facebook to skate in swimwear for the full 60 minutes if someone will sponsor them for $1,000.

The sponsorships were found, so Casey plans to skate in a Speedo and Beckie in a traditional Hawaiian grass skirt and swim top, Chase said.

SNAP volunteers are also bringing beachballs and other beach-themed fun to the event, he added.

“It’s a really cool activity,” Chase said, no puns intended. “Most people don’t put ice hockey and special needs in the same sentence — then when they come out and see the guys and girls and what we’re doing — it goes far beyond just playing hockey.”


If interested in supporting SNAP Sports, click here.

At the conclusion of the Skate-a-Thon, participants will gather for a brief reception and a raffle drawing, according to the SNAP website.

This year’s grand prize is a  flat-screen TV, the second prize is a $100 gift card from Zero Celsius, and third prize is a $50 restaurant gift card.

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Source: Santa Clarita News

Special Needs Athletes To Play At Ice Station Valencia For SNAP Hockey

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About Perry Smith

Perry Smith is a print and broadcast journalist who has won several awards for his focused, hyperlocal community coverage in several different regions of the country. In addition to five years of experience covering the Santa Clarita Valley, Smith, a San Fernando Valley native, has worked in newspapers and news websites in Los Angeles, the Northwest, the Central Valley and the South, before coming to KHTS in 2012. To contact Smith, email him at