GRANDAD John Pearson will have divided loyalties when Great Britain face Canada in the Olympic hockey tournament early tomorrow morning.
While most Brits will be hoping Team GB can put one over on their North American opponents, the Skelmanthorpe pensioner will quietly be cheering on the men in red.
That’s because Mr Pearson’s grandson, Mark, will be lining up for the Canadians in Beijing.
The retired Darfield pit manager, of Elmfield Drive, said: “I’m extremely proud of him. I just hope he puts in a good performance and the team play well.”
Mark, who is 21, was born in Canada and lives with his family in Delta, near Vancouver.
But his father, Ian, lived in Skelmanthorpe and attended Honley Grammar School in the early 1970s before emigrating in 1978.
Hockey runs in the family.
John Pearson was a keen hockey player and Ian played for Chapeltown hockey club in Sheffield and the Manchester University team.
Ian’s brother, also called John, and sister, Louise, both played to county level.
Mark is the youngest player on the Canadian team, but has already won more than 30 caps.
He was introduced to the sport by his parents and was inspired by Canadian star Kirk Adams, whose early coaching helped make him the player he is today.
He made his international debut against Scotland in 2005.
Mark says he admires American golfer Tiger Woods and Swiss tennis player Roger Federer for their mental and physical strength in dominating their sports week after week.
He is currently studying in the Faculty of Science at the University of British Columbia.
Injury almost scuppered his chances of making the Olympics when he broke a finger last year.
But after long periods of surgery and rehabilitation, he recovered in time to take his place as a forward on the team.
Mr Pearson said: “For someone of his age, he has done really well. I’m looking forward to watching him on Sunday.”
The game is at 1.30am tomorrow.