Supporters of the shuttered Ice Station Valencia have organized an effort to save and reopen the skating rink, and plan a car parade to show support on Sunday, April 26, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
SNAP Sports, a Valencia-based non-profit organization offering sports-based programming to athletes with special needs, and the parent organization of the Valencia SNAP Flyers Special Hockey Club, will participate in the parade, part of a recently formed #WeWillSaveTheRink campaign.
In mid-March, the Ice Station Valencia announced it was permanently closing its doors. The rink has been serving the Santa Clarita Valley for more than 20 years, and the news of their closing has been met with sadness and shock.
The community rallied very quickly by circulating a petition on change.org that has nearly 25,000 signatures to support the campaign, and now, organizers are planning a “parade drive-by” of support on Sunday, April 26 at the rink, between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
According to savetherink.com, “The Ice Station Valencia Car Parade will help to show the growing support for saving our local rink, the Ice Station Valencia. It is our hope this event will further spread awareness of the rink situation to the residents of Santa Clarita, and will encourage more people to go to savetherink.com to sign the petition.
“It’s far more than just an ice rink, it’s a home away from home for many hockey teams, figure skaters, speed skaters, curling teams and special needs programming. It’s a place where friends become family, and a building that has become a second home to many. It is a place where our children can go to and have a fun time, a place where their parents know their kids are safe. It is a place our community came together to show support during the tragic events last fall at Saugus High School. This place means too much to too many people to remain closed.”
As for SNAP Sports and the Valencia SNAP Flyers, the disappointment is even more keenly felt, as the Ice Station has been the home of their special needs ice hockey team, formed in 2012, and in the last two years, home to SNAP’s developmental/adaptive skating program which serves more than over 100 athletes with special needs each week, all with varying degrees of disability, and who have experienced their weekly skating sessions as life-changing.
“SNAP Sports and the SNAP Hockey team started over eight years ago, when we realized that there was a dramatic need for such a program. Since its inception, SNAP Sports has expanded to include multiple programs, with ice hockey and developmental/adaptive skating being the most popular,” said Dave Chase, executive Director, SNAP Sports.
“The Ice Station was our home, our anchor, and enabled us to grow the program to the point that we began the annual SoCal Special Hockey Festival, hosting teams from all across the U.S.,” Chase said. “It was the only annual special hockey festival west of the Rockies, and losing the rink means we lose the opportunity to continue serving our athletes, and hundreds of other athletes with special needs throughout the west. Without the Ice Station re-opening, it will be very challenging to continue this programming. We are very supportive of any, and all efforts to re-open the rink.”
SNAP Sports Skating Director Heidi Jeffrey added, “My son plays on the SNAP Flyers and my dad and I coach, so that’s three generations engaged at the rink, These kind of family connections are rare, but because we had the Ice Station it happened. As a single parent, the value of the relationships and lessons we have all learned have become so important to overcoming my son’s disability. SNAP Sports provides hours and hours of programming, providing an important community service. With the closure of the Ice Station, our programming is in jeopardy, and we are trying to do whatever we can do to get the doors back open. That’s what the parade is all about, a safe and sane way to have our voices heard.”
About SNAP Sports
SNAP Sports provides individuals with disabilities the opportunity to engage in a variety of sports-based activities. Our athletes often shatter the notion of commonly held limitations, by accepting the challenge of more complex competitive sports. Players gain confidence and poise while becoming better equipped to manage their individual disabilities. Athletes who participate regularly, routinely develop the essential physical and social skills needed to improve their everyday lives.
For more information visit www.snaphockey.org
Follow us on social media at facebook.com/snaphockey, instagram.com/snapsportsinc and twitter.com/snapsportsinc.
About savetherink.com and #WeWillSaveTheRink
The savetherink.com and #WeWillSaveTheRink movements were started by local community members to support efforts to re-open the ice station by petitioning the City of Santa Clarita, The Los Angeles Kings and any other eligible organization, persons or group to step up and save the rink.
This important location houses many on-ice activities, including hockey and figure skating, where the youth of Santa Clarita pursue their dreams. It also provides recreation and enjoyment to thousands of members of the community through learn to skate, birthday parties and public skate.
The facility brings in money to local hotels, restaurants and shopping, through many hockey tournaments and figure skating competitions that draw hundreds of out of town guests. We are rallying our friends and neighbors to come together and show our support for keeping Ice Station Valencia our community rink.