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New Special Needs Hockey Program Launched at Ice Station Valencia

New Special Needs Hockey Program Launched at Ice Station Valencia in Santa Clarita

Bridges to Ability/Valencia S.N.A.P Flyers Hit the Ice

August 30, 2012 - Valencia, CA -  For the past three years a dedicated group of developmentally challenged athletes have been finding success with the Special Olympics floor hockey program. During that time, they have not lost a game. They traveled throughout California racking up win after win, and after one particularly lopsided victory, several athletes were seeking a greater challenge, and the idea was born. 

Responding to that need, the Bridges to Ability Foundation, the Valencia Flyers Junior A Hockey Club and the Ice Station Valencia, joined together to form the Bridges to Ability/Valencia S.N.A.P Flyers.

A special needs ice hockey club, (whose acronym S.N.A.P. stands for Special Needs Athletes & Peers), the Valencia S.N.A.P. Flyers will begin play this fall as part of the American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) and USA Hockey’s disabled hockey programs. The team is one of only 51 similar programs in the US, three of which are here in the greater Los Angeles area.

What started with a handful of athletes in March of this year, has blossomed into 15 fully-equipped athletes participating in weekly practice sessions. Participation in this program provides new opportunities for mobility, learning, and teamwork. Athletes learn an entirely new way of moving their bodies and develop new teamwork skills that apply both on and off the ice, while participating in a sport that previously was thought to be out of reach.

The Bridges to Ability Foundation will support the team through grant-making opportunities, volunteer resources and administrative support. Hadassah Lynn Foster, executive director, believes that “The S.N.A.P. Hockey program is a perfect fit for our organization. It provides not only an athletic activity for our developmentally disabled clients, but it opens doors socially and recreationally, too. And there’s no denying the benefits - we are breaking barriers every week.”

Through the generosity of the Ice Station Valencia and the Valencia Flyers Junior A squad, the special needs team has been able to practice consistently in order to prepare for the upcoming season. “When Ice Station Valencia was constructed, the objective was to introduce everyone in the Santa Clarita Valley and its surrounding areas to all sports associated with ice,” said Roger Perez, owner and president of the Ice Station Valencia. “The S.N.A.P. ice program is the realization of one of those objectives and we are all very pleased to be associated with this organization,” added Perez.

“There is absolutely no way we could have developed this program without the overwhelming support from Roger Perez and the entire Ice Station staff. They are behind this program 110%”, said S.N.A.P. Flyers team President Dave Chase. “We are also very fortunate to have the support of Easton and Zero Celsius who have provided protective equipment for this courageous and determined group of athletes.”

Unlike most hockey programs in the US, this engaging and therapeutic activity is provided at virtually no cost to the athlete, or their family. This is a key component of a team whose members are for the most part reliant on SSI benefits, making a hockey program such as this, financially impractical. As the team’s roster expands it will be essential to attract additional funding sources in order to participate in tournament play and instructional clinics.

The Valencia S.N.A.P. Flyers are open to all ages, genders and skill levels. They also offer a beginner skating program for those who may be interested, but have limited or no ice experience. The team is 100% coached and managed by volunteers who collectively bring decades of special needs athletics experience to the squad.

For more information about the program, or to learn how to support the team, please contact Dave Chase 661.289.2793 or davegchase@aol.com

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About the Valencia S.N.A.P. Flyers:

The Valencia S.N.A.P Flyers/Bridges to Ability Foundation Special Needs Ice Hockey program provides teens and adults with disabilities the opportunity to participate in a competitive, amateur-level ice hockey club. The program welcomes all athletes with disabilities, who wish to expand their knowledge and skills of this team sport through the support of experienced coaches and skilled peers. 

Find the team on Facebook:  www.facebook.com/groups/346675242055704/

For more information, contact Dave Chase: 661.289.2793 or davegchase@aol.com


About Bridges to Ability Foundation
:

The Bridges to Ability Foundation seeks to improve the lives of teens, adults and seniors with developmental disabilities through quality vocational, athletic, educational, social, and recreational programs.  After opening our clients to the world, our secondary mission is to then open the world to our clients - to help break down the stigma and discomfort too prevalent in society today toward persons with developmental disabilities. 

Find us on the web: www.bridgestoability.org

For more information, contact Hadassah Foster: 661.702.8555 or info@bridgestoability.org

About the Valencia Ice Station:

Ice Station Valencia is a fun and safe place for families and people of all ages to get together.  Being home to more than 95,000 square feet of ice and family entertainment, Ice Station Valencia is the coolest place to have fun in Santa Clarita. The facility offers three ice rink surfaces (NHL, Olympic and studio size rinks), video arcade, dance studio, pro shop, banquet/private rooms and full-service grill restaurant.  Ice Station Valencia offers Public Ice Skating, Snow Play, Ice Hockey, Lessons, Parties, Broomball, Group Events, Fundraisers, Summer and Winter Camps, Rink Tours, and More. 

Find us on the web: www.icestation.net

For more information, contact: Matt Witten 661.775.8686x231 or mwitten@icestation.net

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27745 North Smyth Drive Valencia California Tel: 661.775.8686 Fax: 661.775.8681