Coventry Bears become Midlands Hurricanes
Fresh from welcoming Cornwall into Betfred League 1, the third tier of professional rugby league will have a new name encompassing the midlands in 2022.
Coventry Bears, founded in 1998, are changing their name to the Midlands Hurricanes under a new parent company in an attempt to develop a regional brand.
Coventry’s founder Alan Robinson said: “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 with the focus of the new club being a regionalised brand and club.
“Coventry Bears will continue to function under our Bears in the Community Foundation, playing in the midlands regional competition with young local players in 2022 and continue to develop new junior satellite clubs across the west midlands to support and underpin the Midlands Hurricanes professional development.”
The club say the move has been made possible through an injection of investment from local businessman Mike Lomas, who will become chairman and co-owner alongside Robinson, who becomes chief executive.
Lomas said: “When the concept of the Midlands Hurricanes presented itself, I was immediately excited about the opportunity.
“As a passionate rugby league fan, I believe the Midlands Hurricanes will, without a doubt, assist the expansion of rugby league.
“The midlands represents a large population of the United Kingdom and I fully believe that growing the sport in this area is paramount to the overall success of the game.”
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.
League 1 will be something of a nationwide competition in 2022, with teams in London, South Yorkshire and North and South Wales as well as the northern heartland.
The fixtures are due to be published on November 15.