Viera Company’s Todd Pokrywa Serves as Guest Coach During Hockey Hall of Fame Legends Classic
By Space Coast Daily // November 21, 2021
Legends Classic is part of Induction Weekend
Our Legends Line Guest Coach Todd helped Team Modano capture the win!
— Hockey Hall of Fame (@HockeyHallFame) November 14, 2021
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Viera’s vast integrated network of parks and trails is among the reasons it rates in the top 20 best-selling master planned communities in the nation. Among the ample amount of these outdoor amenities, a delightfully unexpected recreation opportunity exists: the outdoor hockey rink at La Roca Park.
The popular 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/walk growing up in Edmonton and Toronto, Canada.
“The rink was an idea I discussed with my team to offer a new recreational opportunity for residents to play roller and ball hockey, which appeals to many northern transplants and those hockey enthusiasts that have witnessed the robust growth of the sport in Florida since the NHL expanded in the Sunbelt with teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers,” said Pokrywa.
To open the rink in proper hockey style, Pokrywa engineered for former Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender and 2009 Stanley Cup champion Mathieu Garon to host hockey clinics for Viera children.
Viera’s connection with the Lightning – and hockey – does not end there.
“Viera is within the official viewing area for Tampa Bay Lightning broadcasts,” explained Pokrywa. “The timing of the new outdoor rink has been appropriate, given the team’s impact on the growth of hockey programs in an expanding area of market influence and their back-to-back Stanley Cup wins.”
Viera also happens to neighbor the Space Coast Iceplex, with its robust schedule of children’s, youth and adult hockey programs.
Pokrywa is no stranger to the Iceplex, or to anything relating to hockey for that matter, as he served in a very special capacity at the Legends Classic Sunday in Toronto as part of the Hockey Hall of Fame induction weekend.
“I will be serving behind the bench for the World Team, captained by Hall of Famer Mike Modano, as a guest coach with Hall of Famer Lanny McDonald and inductee Kevin Lowe during the Legends Classic as part of Induction Weekend,” said Pokrywa.
For a kid who grew up playing backyard hockey, such an opportunity to rub shoulders with some of hockey’s greatest players is an unforgettable honor.
His wife, Cyndi, and their daughter and son-in-law will be joining him for the weekend, which includes the added bonus of being present 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.
Pokrywa’s earliest recollections of the game include the outdoor rink his father created each winter by flooding the backyard so his three sons could skate and play.
“I learned to skate pushing a kitchen chair around the backyard during the winter,” he said. “My Dad grew up playing hockey and he coached all of us. Both he and my Mom spent many years running all of us around to hockey practices and games. I remember very early mornings every weekend heading to the rink.”
Pokrywa compares his childhood to the short story “The Hockey Sweater,” an excerpt of which was once included on the back of the Canadian five-dollar bill.
“The winters of my childhood were long, long seasons,” wrote Canadian author Roch Carrier. “We lived in three places – the school, the church and the skating rink – but our real life was on the skating rink.”
Pokrywa agrees. “That was certainly true during my childhood,” he said. “Like many growing up in Canada, I played hockey from the time I was five years old until college.”
College was the University of Waterloo in Ontario, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in urban and regional planning. When it was time to select the subject for his senior honors essay, Viera proved a hat trick.
“Growing up in Canada, my family vacationed annually in Melbourne Beach,” esaid Pokrywa.
“On those family vacations, I recalled reading in the paper about the plans the Duda family had for a new town on the property known as the Cocoa Ranch. I then selected the benefits of master planned communities as my focus for the thesis, with a case study of the planned community of Viera. When the community’s development was in its infancy, I met with the then-management of The Viera Company, Brevard County and the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council to conduct my thesis research.”
He would later earn a master’s degree in administration with specialization in organization leadership from the University of South Dakota.
Before joining The Viera Company, he was responsible for planning and construction activities at vacation ownership giant Sunterra, as a senior planning manager for Ivey, Harris & Walls (now Miller Legg) professional consulting firm and as vice president of strategic affairs for Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, Inc., a land management and agribusiness enterprise that developed another master planned community, Lakewood Ranch in Manatee and Sarasota counties.
Pokrywa joined The Viera Company in 2014 as senior vice president of land use planning and development, becoming its president in 2018. He oversees planning, development, marketing and sale of land owned and managed by The Viera Company, primarily in Viera.
“I like best collaborating with the dedicated team of professionals at The Viera Company, as well as the many private and public stakeholders throughout the Space Coast that help us shape the next phases of the vibrant mixed-use and master-planned community of Viera,” he said.
“It is very fulfilling personally and professionally to have had the opportunity as a student to learn about the initial plans for Viera and to now lead The Viera Company team into our next stages of growth.”
When not enjoying all things hockey, Pokrywa spends some of his free time at a local mecca for another sport, the Duran Golf Club and its Tradewinds Restaurant.
“There is a great new menu and many events and activities beyond golf at this top-rated community amenity,” he said, also noting that Duran’s general manager is a big New York Islanders hockey fan.
Pokrywa, a naturalized U.S. citizen since 2010, enjoys a Canadian cold weather fix occasionally, but is always happy to return to the warmth of Viera.
For him, the hockey rink at La Roca Park is more than just another nice amenity in a community chock-full of them.
“There is more to take away than mastering passing, shooting or stopping the puck,” said Pokrywa.
“Hockey taught me the value of teamwork and many other important life skills. There are invaluable lessons learned about working with others, time management, respect, sportsmanship, managing emotions and determination in striving towards a collective goal. I draw on these lessons each day.”