Created in 2000 for players with develop­mental disa­bilities, the Amer­ican Special Hockey Assoc­iation (ASHA) gives people of all ages and abilities a chance to learn and grow by playing hockey. There are currently over 50 ASHA programs in more than 30 cities through­out the United States. Follow special hockey on Twitter and Facebook.



ASHA Executive Committee will oversee planning, fundraising, and partnerships to continue ASHA’s growth The American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) has announced a new organizational structure that will allow ASHA to continue its growth so more children can benefit from its programs across the country. A new ASHA Executive Committee will be responsible for all strategic planning, fundraising, and partnerships and will assist the Board of Directors in implementing programs and tactics. The

Executive Committee includes:

Chairman of the Board – Mike Hickey, ASHA founder and current president • 

President – Dave Chase, current executive director and co-founder of the SNAP Flyers Special Hockey Club in Valencia, Calif. v•

Executve Director – Jennifer O’Brien, a disability advocate and entrepreneur and a volunteer with the special hockey program in Binghamton, N.Y.

Hickey, who founded the Washington Ice Dogs and ASHA in 1999, said, “I have full confidence in Dave and Jen as we realign our leadership to meet the needs of special hockey programs across the country.

As ASHA has grown over the past decade, we needed to re-think our structure to meet today’s needs and plan for continued growth into the future.”

Chase said, “This new strategic management team will allow ASHA to continue to provide the very best in special hockey programming from coast to coast. I am really excited about the collective impact this dynamic group will bring to an already successful organization, and I’m humbled by the responsibility we have to our 2,000+ athletes and their families.”

O’Brien added, “As ASHA continues to positively impact individuals with special needs across the country by increasing accessibility to the great sport of hockey, this expansion our leadership team will help meet the diverse and growing needs of over 60 teams across the country. This structure builds upon our solid foundation and poises ASHA to improve and further expand our programs.

Executive Committee Bios

Mike Hickey formed the Washington Ice Dogs and the American Special Hockey Association in 1999 to create opportunities for children and young adults with developmental disabilities to play hockey at the Gardens Ice House in Laurel, Md. Under his leadership, ASHA has grown into a national organization with more than 60 programs in 30 cities, and more than 2,000 athletes. In addition to serving more children in more areas, ASHA has attracted support from corporations, community partners, and professional athletes, coaches, and staff.

Dave Chase began his career in nonprofit work as a Special Olympics coach in 2007. Having a deep background in event management, he began to manage several major fundraising events in Santa Clarita, Calif., area. In March 2012, he co-founded the Valencia SNAP Flyers Special Hockey Club, and in October 2014 he co-founded SNAP Sports, a nonprofit offering sports commonly thought to be out of the reach of special needs athletes. In addition to his position with SNAP Sports, Chase has served as the Executive Director of the American Special Hockey Association since 2015.

Jennifer O’Brien is the founding executive director of Life is Washable, Inc. (The Magic Paintbrush Project). She leads a team that serves individuals with special needs and their supporting community of caregivers from family members to agencies. Since its inception, Life Is Washable, Inc. has served over 46,000 session participants in their creative family and caregiver engagement programming. She has also developed other innovative programs such as “Friendly Access Safety Kits” and “Fair Play” adaptive sports. She recently served as project coordinator for the largest fully accessible playground in New York State.

About the American Special Hockey Association Created in 2000 for players with developmental disabilities, the American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) gives people of all ages and abilities a chance to learn and grow by playing hockey. There are currently over 60 ASHA programs in more than 30 cities throughout the United States. Learn more at

The Cleveland Rockin' Wildcats are featured in Parenting Special Needs Magazine

The Cleveland Rockin' Wildcats are featured in the January/February issue of Parenting Special Needs Magazine.

Click on the following link to get the story on the Wildcats:

ASHA and Gateway Locomotives Suffer Tragic Loss

The American Special Hockey family with great sadness is sorry to announce that one of our member programs, the Gateway Locomotives Special Hockey program has lost a former teammate this past week. Andrew Nau-Dewitt succumbed to injuries when hit by a car walking to work shortly after Christmas. Andrew's infectious smile and magnetic personality made him lovable to everyone who knew him. He will be greatly missed. RIP Andrew. Teammates forever. Please join the ASHA family and organization with condolences to Andrew's family and to the Gateway Locomotives organization.


ASHA and One Step Beyond Bring Special Hockey to Arizona

With over 300 members at One Step Beyond, Inc. in Arizona, there are many who are hockey hungry, with no outlet or options to have the experience. At OSBI we do all we can to foster the needs and passions that our members may have. There was a huge desire to provide these members with such an outlet and give them the opportunity to get out on the ice and join the hockey community, not only for them but to create inclusion in the hockey world and amongst fans and families.

Sharing this passion for hockey and being deeply rooted in the hockey community is Jared Woosley, as a One Step long time employee and creator and director of the music program at OSBI, it was an obvious move. Along with his wife Kristin Woosley also a One Step coordinator, and dear friend Dawn Proefrock, Dawn is the founder of Hockey Helping the Homless and a loving, dedicated Bobcats hockey mom, player, and staple in the hockey world, Karen and Rob Kerns, the ultimate hockey family, who are heavily connected with the AZ Bobcats as well as the parents of Seth Kerns, a hockey fan and member at OSBI and the first name on the roster to join the One Step Bobcats, they are on fast track to building a team!

The amount of interest, support, donations and kindness has been so amazing! Everyone has pulled together in a big way to make this hockey dream happen for these guys! In a very short time we have been donated ice time, gear gear and more gear, funding, game invitations and people’s dedication and time. It’s such a great feeling! Big thanks you to Ron Filion of the Arizona Bobcats for supplying our organization with all uniform needs and Jim Rogers, Justin Rogers and Camille Becker for securing ice time throughout the year. We are honored to name Keith Carney of the NHL who will be representing us as our team ambassador! The love just keeps pouring in!

By connecting with ASHA, and becoming the One Step Bobcats, we are able to bring hockey into the lives of our members and to create an opportunity which is truly hockey history. ASHA and OSBI will be that outlet to these members, becoming Arizona’s first special hockey team!