Viera Company’s Todd Pokrywa Serves as Guest Coach During Hockey Hall of Fame Legends Classic
Legends Classic is part of the introductory weekend
Our Legends Line guest trainer Todd helped Team Modano win!
The end result was 10-8 @adidasCA | # HHOF2020 pic.twitter.com/ve7lzm925U
– Hockey Hall of Fame (@HockeyHallFame) November 14, 2021
HOCKEY HALL OF FAMER Lanny McDonald, right, and Todd Pokrywa with the Stanley Cup. Pokrywa served behind the bench for Team Modano as a guest coach with McDonald and newly inducted Kevin Lowe during the Legends Classic as part of Saturday’s introductory weekend.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Viera’s vast integrated network of parks and trails is one of the reasons it is among the top 20 best-selling master planed communities in the country. Among the many of these outdoor facilities, there is one wonderfully unexpected recreational opportunity: the outdoor hockey rink at La Roca Park.
The popular ice rink owes its existence to Todd Pokrywa, president of the Viera Company and a man who has breathed hockey pretty much since he learned to skate and walk in Edmonton and Toronto, Canada.
“The rink was an idea I discussed with my team to provide residents with a new recreational opportunity to play roller and ball hockey, which appeals to many northern transplants and hockey enthusiasts who appreciate the robust growth of the sport in Florida have since witnessed the NHL expanded into the Sunbelt with teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers, ”said Pokrywa.
TODD POKRYWA, right, with former Tampa Bay Lightning goalie and 2009 Stanley Cup Champion Mathieu Garon at the opening of the new outdoor street hockey rink in Vieras La Roca Park.
To open the ice rink in real hockey style, Pokrywa designed former Tampa Bay Lightning goalkeeper and 2009 Stanley Cup winner Mathieu Garon to host hockey clinics for Viera children.
Viera’s connection with Lightning – and hockey – doesn’t end there.
“Viera is in the official viewing area for Tampa Bay Lightning broadcasts,” said Pokrywa. “The timing for the new outdoor ice rink was appropriate as the team influenced the growth of hockey programs in a growing market area and the successive Stanley Cup victories.”
Viera is also adjacent to the Space Coast Iceplex with its robust program of hockey programs for kids, teens, and adults.
Viera’s vast integrated network of parks and trails is one of the reasons it is among the top 20 best-selling masterplaned communities in the country. Among the many of these outdoor facilities, there is one wonderfully unexpected recreational opportunity: the outdoor hockey rink at La Roca Park.
Pokrywa is no stranger to the Iceplex or anything hockey-related as he served in a very special role at the Legends Classic Sunday in Toronto as part of the introductory weekend of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
“I will serve behind the bench for the World Team, led by Hall of Famer Mike Modano, as guest coach with Hall of Famer Lanny McDonald and newly inducted Kevin Lowe during the Legends Classic as part of the introductory weekend,” Pokrywa said.
For a kid who grew up playing backyard hockey, it is an unforgettable honor to meet some of the greatest hockey players.
His wife Cyndi, daughter, and son-in-law will be spending the weekend with him, which includes the added bonus of being in attendance when friend and recently retired Tampa Bay Lightning broadcaster Rick Peckham receives the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award from the Hockey Hall of Fame for his contributions to the games.
ABOVE: Todd Pokrywa grew up playing hockey in both Edmonton and Toronto and learned to push a kitchen chair through the back yard in the winter when his father flooded the back yard to build an outdoor ice rink.
Pokrywa’s earliest memories of the game include the outdoor ice rink his father created every winter by flooding the back yard so his three sons could skate and play.
“I learned to skate in winter, to push a kitchen chair around the garden,” he said. “My father grew up playing hockey and trained us all. Both he and my mother spent many years leading us all to hockey trainings and games. I remember going to the rink very early in the morning every weekend. “
Pokrywa compares his childhood with the short story “The Hockey Sweater”, an excerpt from which was once on the back of the Canadian five-dollar bill.
“The winters of my childhood were long, long seasons,” wrote Canadian writer Roch Carrier. “We lived in three places – the school, the church, and the ice rink – but our real life was on the ice rink.”
Pokrywa agrees. “That was certainly true in my childhood,” he said. “Like many who grew up in Canada, I played hockey from when I was five through college.”
College was the University of Waterloo, Ontario, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in urban and regional planning. When it came time to pick the subject for his Senior Honors essay, Viera did a hat trick.
“When I was growing up in Canada, my family went to Melbourne Beach every year,” says Pokrywa.
“During that family vacation, I remembered reading the newspaper about the Duda family’s plans for a new town on the property called Cocoa Ranch. Then I chose the benefits of Master Planed Communities as my focus for my thesis, with a case study of Viera’s Planed Community. When the community was still in its infancy, I met with the then management of The Viera Company, Brevard County and the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council to do my thesis. “
He later earned a master’s degree in administration specializing in organizational leadership from the University of South Dakota.
Todd Pokrywa was Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Melbourne Regional Chamber of Commerce in 2020 and the Impact Awards had the fitting motto “Light the Lamp”, a common hockey reference for scoring a goal. Pictured above, from left to right, are Michael Ayers, President of the Chamber; Kim Agee, Melbourne Main Street; David Cable, ReMax Elite; Pokrywa; Jeff Robison, Lightle Beckner Robison; and Neal Johnson, Union Home Mortgage.
Prior to joining The Viera Company, he was responsible for planning and construction activities at vacation property giant Sunterra, as Senior Planning Manager at professional consulting firm Ivey, Harris & Walls (now Miller Legg) and as Vice President of Strategic Affairs at Schroeder-Manatee Ranch , Inc., a land management and agribusiness company that has developed another proposed masters community, Lakewood Ranch in Manatee and Sarasota counties.
Pokrywa joined The Viera Company in 2014 as Senior Vice President, Land Use Planning and Development, and became President in 2018.
“What I enjoy most is working with the dedicated team of professionals at The Viera Company, as well as the many private and public stakeholders across the Space Coast who are helping us shape the next stages of Viera’s vibrant mixed-use and master-planned community . ” he said.
“It is personally and professionally very fulfilling to get to know the first plans for Viera as a student and to lead the team at The Viera Company into the next phase of growth.”
Todd Pokrywa joined The Viera Company in 2014 as Senior Vice President, Land Use Planning and Development, and became its President in 2018.
When he’s not enjoying hockey, Pokrywa spends some of his free time in a local mecca for another sport, Duran Golf Club and its Tradewinds Restaurant.
“There’s a great new menu and lots of non-golf events and activities in this world-class community,” he said, noting that Duran’s general manager is a huge hockey fan for the New York Islanders.
Pokrywa, a US citizen since 2010, occasionally enjoys a Canadian cold weather fix, but always happily returns to the warmth of Viera.
For him, the ice hockey stadium at La Roca Park is more than just another nice amenity in a crowded community.
“There’s more to be taken than mastering the passing, shooting or stopping of the puck,” Pokrywa said.
“Hockey taught me the value of teamwork and many other important life skills. There are invaluable lessons about working with others, time management, respect, being athletic, dealing with emotions, and being determined in pursuing a common goal. I go back to these lessons every day. “