Hiryok is Super Bowl bound

Many residents in the Cayman Islands will watch the upcoming Super Bowl. One lucky resident will get to see the match in person.

Daniel Hiryok has won a pair of tickets for the big game taking place this Sunday in Dallas, Texas. Hiryok was the grand prize winner of an American football contest put on by Doghouse sports bar. The competition took place during the 2010-2011 regular season with the backing of main sponsors Coors Light and Jacques Scott. As Hiryok explained it took dedication to claim the honours.

“Throughout the season scratch cards were given away on game days (Sundays and Mondays) at Doghouse,” Hiryok said. “One of the tickets said “Super Bowl Party” and represented a chance to go to the Super Bowl. From there you had to collect them and submit them at the end of the regular season. The draw was done last Friday at Doghouse and I walked away with a case of beer and two tickets to the Super Bowl. I was a pretty lucky guy that night.

“I’m very happy, I’m still on cloud nine. I don’t understand it. I’m a big Pittsburgh Steelers fan so I can’t wait. It has been hard to concentrate these last few days. Going to the Super Bowl would have been totally different if the Steelers were not in it. The fact that my team, my favourite team is there, wow. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

The Steelers, who feature big play quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, are facing linebacker Clay Matthews and the Green Bay Packers at Cowboy Stadium in Super Bowl XLV. Game time is 6.30pm on FOX. Hiryok, 40, states he has been a Steelers fan for years. Originally from Pittsburgh, Hiryok readily states that a commitment to the team runs deep and is a family affair.

“The Steelers have been my team from since I was eight or nine years-old. I have two Steelers tattoos, a terrible towel that has never been washed in 15 years and I have a Steelers necklace I wear for every game. I’m a season ticket holder after being on the waiting list for 10 years starting in 1986. When I can’t make it to the games I sell my tickets to friends in the States. My first dog was named Steeler. My wife Beth (Hiryok) puts up with it.

“In fact she is a Steelers fan too. It was not by choice though as she used to be a (Philadelphia) Eagles fan. My two kids Kaden (five) and Kameron (one and a half) are both die-hard Steelers fans with their terrible towels.”

Interestingly Hiryok is not taking his family with him on the trip. Instead he is taking his close friend and business partner Paul Trahan who he met at Davey Jones bar (the predecessor to Doghouse) when he came to Cayman some five years ago. The duo are the brains behind Sports Port Ltd, located on the George Town waterfront (between Breezes By the Bay and the Cayman Islands National Museum). Oddly enough the business is a sports apparel store and the establishment has Packers and Steelers gear on sale prior to Sunday.

Hiryok has played local flag football the last four years but tore the Medial Collateral Ligament in his knee last season. Though a fifth year of playing may be in doubt he states the result for the Super Bowl should be clear.

“The prize I won covers airfare, accommodations and game tickets. We’ll be on our own for food. I’m leaving this Friday and I come back Monday. It’s 30 degrees over there but we’ll be fine. We’ll be taking an American Airlines flight that leaves 8.30am and we get to Dallas at 3.45pm (Miami is our only stop). From there we leave Monday at 10am and don’t get back until 8pm (we have to go through Knoxville and Miami).

“I’m picking the Steelers by three points because the defence will knock out quarterback Aaron Rodgers from the game. He’s weak because of all of the concussions. (Safety) Troy Polamalu is the defensive player of the year this season and he is going to shut the Packers down. He’s definitely my pick for Super Bowl Most Valuable Player.”

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Hiryok, far right, celebrated with fellow Steelers fans Donna Sjostrom, Murali Namburi, Niki Foster-Carter.
PHOTO: SUBMITTED