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Coventry Bears to be renamed Midlands Hurricanes

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Coventry Bears are to change their name and rebrand as the Midlands Hurricanes following a cash injection from a business who have a base in the city.

Mike Lomas, managing director of the Hudder­sfield-based Big Red Industries Group, has taken over as chairman.

He will co-own the semi-profes­sional Hurricanes with founder Alan Robinson.

The Coventry-based side will continue to play in League 1, the third tier of English professional rugby league - the level they have been at since 2015.

They will be one of two new names in an 11-team League 1 in 2022 following the exciting development of a first rugby league outfit for Cornwall.

Although the experiment to take rugby league to Canada has failed for now, the Rugby Football League's three divisions will have an even wider geographical spread in 2022.

While Lancashire and Yorkshire remain the heartland, Super League will have two French sides for the first time, while the Championship now has all three Cumbrian clubs, London Broncos and Newcastle Thunder.

And the Midlands Hurricanes and Cornwall will be up against two Welsh sides, based in Wrexham and Llanelli, as well as London Skolars, in the third tier.

Lomas said: "When the concept of the Midlands Hurricanes presented itself, I was immediately excited about the opportunity.

"The Midlands represents a large population of the United Kingdom. As a passionate rugby league fan, I believe the Midlands Hurricanes will, without a doubt, assist the expansion of rugby league."

Coventry founder Robinson added: "It has become clear that we needed to diversify and develop a regional brand to sustain professional rugby league.

"We have had limited oppor­tuni­ties to grow the club and needed to seek out new oppor­tuni­ties to grow the game and business. We needed to bring the game together across the region."

Robinson outlined his plans at a meeting of Championship and League 1 clubs in Halifax, where clubs also learned more about Cornwall RLFC, who have taken the place of the proposed Ottawa club.

The new League 1 fixtures for 2022 are due to be published on 15 November.

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