Pokrywa will be guest coach at hockey legends game

Todd Pokrywa, left, and Lanny McDonald pose next to the Stanley Cup at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

 

In June, Viera Company President Todd Pokrywa celebrated the grand opening of an outdoor hockey rink at La Roca Park.

On Sunday, Nov. 14, Pokrywa will appear at a much larger hockey rink inside Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada. He’ll be an honorary coach at the Adidas Hockey Hall of Fame Legends Classic, part of the Hall’s Induction.

Pokrywa will be behind the bench with Hockey Hall of Famer Lanny McDonald and Class of 2020 inductee Kevin Lowe for the World Legends team captained by Hockey Hall of Famer Mike Modano as it takes on a Canada Legends squad led by Hall of Famer Scott Niedermayer. Other hockey greats scheduled to play include Eric Lindros, Larry Murphy and Sergei Samsonov.

“It is an experience of a lifetime to get to be behind the bench with two Hall of Fame Hockey players I grew up cheering for and among so many hockey legends,” said Pokrywa, who joined the Viera Company in 2014 and became its president in 2018.

Pokrywa was selected for the honor for his support of the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Legends Line fundraising initiative that has assisted in the Hall’s COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts.

For Pokrywa, who played both street and ice hockey in his youth while living in Edmonton and Toronto, the chance to be surrounded by National Hockey League Hall of Famers is a boyhood dream come true.

“For many years, the back of the Canadian five dollar note included a quote from the short story “The Hockey Sweater” which read, “The winters of my childhood were long, long seasons. We lived in three places — the school, the church and the skating rink — but our real life was on the skating rink,” Pokrywa said. “That was certainly true during my childhood.”

Pokrywa played hockey from the time he was 5 years old until college.

“I learned to skate pushing a kitchen chair around the backyard during the winters when my dad would flood the backyard to create an outdoor rink for my two brothers and me to skate and play hockey,” he said.

For Pokrywa, hockey was more than a game. It taught him the value of teamwork.

“There is more to take away than mastering passing, shooting or stopping the puck,” he said. “There are invaluable lessons learned about working with others, time management, respect, sportsmanship, determination in striving toward a collective goal, and managing emotions.”