The much-hoped-for news of the city of Santa Clarita’s recent acquisition of the Ice Station Valencia was met with an enthusiastic response, and perhaps the most fervent enthusiasts are the members of SNAP Sports, an SCV-based nonprofit organization offering sports-based programming to athletes with special needs, and the parent organization of the Valencia SNAP Flyers Special Hockey Club.
In tandem with this news, SNAP Sports is announcing a new chapter in the leadership of the organization. Veteran SNAP volunteer coaches Chris Schrage and Heidi Jeffrey have accepted positions as co-executive directors of SNAP Sports, and will share the responsibility of day-to-day operations, shaping its future and maintaining its history, while fulfilling SNAP’s mission to serve the special needs community of Santa Clarita.
Jeffrey and Schrage will take the reins from Dave Chase, one of SNAP’s co-founders, and the executive director since the nonprofit’s inception. Chase was responsible for all facets of the organization’s growth and development, and he is excited to share his experience and knowledge with the new generation of SNAP leadership. Chase will remain on board as SNAP Sports president, focusing on special projects.
Schrage joined SNAP Sports in 2013 as a volunteer ice hockey coach for the Valencia SNAP Flyers, and has grown into leadership roles for the ice hockey and developmental skating programs, becoming head hockey coach in 2019. Among his contributions, he served as a peer chaperone when the team traveled twice to international tournaments in Canada. In addition, his work with the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce has been instrumental in fostering SNAP’s rapid growth, by developing key relationships within the community.
Schrage began his career at LBW Insurance and Financial Services in 2011, and currently serves as its commercial risk control specialist. Prior to completing his bachelor’s degree at Cal State Long Beach, he attended College of the Canyons where he served as the president and captain of the hockey team. Schrage went on to become both an assistant coach and head coach with that program. He volunteers with a variety of nonprofits throughout the SCV, including the Michael Hoefflin Foundation. Schrage served on the executive board of directors of the Valley Industry Association, and holds positions on the SCV Chamber of Commerce executive board, and as the chair of NextSCV.
Jeffrey initially became a volunteer parent with SNAP Sports three years ago when she enrolled her now-11-year-old autistic son to participate in SNAP’s ice programs. Since then, she has developed the critical leadership skills and experience needed to transition into the co-executive director position. She currently serves in multiple roles: as SNAP’s developmental/adaptive ice skating director, ice hockey coach, and member of SNAP’s executive and advisory committees. An SCV resident for nine years, Jeffrey started her professional career in 2011 as a senior mailing list broker for Mailers Haven in Santa Clarita.
Coincidentally, both Jeffrey and Schrage are past recipients of the Jaycees International (JCI) 40 under Forty award, recognizing excellence in Santa Clarita’s young leaders.
“SNAP Sports will be well stewarded by Heidi and Chris, who have tirelessly given of their time and talents to support our organization,” said Chase. “Since 2012, we have been gratified to work with an incredibly dedicated group of volunteers who champion our athletes year after year. The leadership, passion and creative vision that Heidi and Chris possess will poise SNAP to positively grow and evolve for many years to come.”
SNAP Sports also provides developmental ice skating, flag football, running and cheerleading. In the coming months, Jeffrey and Schrage will navigate the post-COVID landscape for SNAP Sports, and look to reintroduce a robust slate of programs for the organization’s participants.
For more information about SNAP Sports, visit www.snaphockey.org.