IRVINE, Calif. – This past week, two of Great Park Ice’s High-Performance figure skating coaching teams were nominated for “Coach of the Year” at the annual Professional Skaters Association (PSA) Edi Awards. In addition, Great Park Ice’s Head Coach of High Performance, Rafael Arutyunyan, was inducted into this year’s PSA Hall of Fame, marking a lifetime of achievement in joining Figure Skating’s greatest coaching figures of all time. The Edi Awards are an annual celebration hosted by the PSA and U.S. Figure Skating, recognizing outstanding accomplishments in coaching.  

The two nominations of the Great Park Ice - High Performance Department recognized the team of Head Coach Rafael Arutyunyan, Vera Arutyunyan, and Nadia Kanaeva for their work with Nathan Chen and Mariah Bell while the coaching team of Todd Sand, Jenni Meno Sand, and Christine Fowler Binder were recognized for their success with Alexa and Chris Knierem as well as Jessica Calalang and Brian Johnson.  

This year’s highest coaching honor of “Coach of the Year” was awarded to Todd Sand, Jenni Meno Sand and Christine Fowler Binder. This winning team will also be submitted by U.S. Figure Skating to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee for consideration of their annual coaching awards as well. 

The 2020 season kicked off with huge success in January for the Great Park Ice High Performance Department. Great Park Ice skaters captured two of the four US National Championship Titles -- Nathan Chen in the Men’s event and Alexa and Chris Knierem in the Pairs event. Additionally, Great Park skaters brought home three silver medals with Mariah Bell in the Ladies’ event, Jessica Calalang and Brian Johnson in the Pairs event, and Eric Sjoberg in the Junior Men’s event.