A Huddersfield businessman aims to become a driving force to help expand the geographical appeal of rugby league.

Huddersfield Giants fan Mike Lomas, managing director of Huddersfield-based Big Red Industries Group, has become chairman and co-owner of a semi-professional club in the Midlands.

Mike, 30, has teamed up with club founder Alan Robinson to buy into Coventry Bears, now rebranded as Midlands Hurricanes.

The club will continue to play in League 1, the third tier of rugby league, the level they’ve played at since 2015.

University of Huddersfield graduate Mike said his aim was to help build the appeal of an “amazing sport” beyond its Yorkshire and Lancashire heartland.

“I have supported Huddersfield Giants for five years now and I can see what an influence a rugby league club can have on a local community and I am passionate about wanting to build the sport,” he 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 UK and I fully believe that growing the sport in this area is paramount to the overall success of the game.”

The hurricane is coming…

Mike hailed the work of Alan Robinson who had made Coventry Bears a sustainable business, no mean feat in rugby league.

Mike added: “Working alongside Alan is an absolute pleasure. His passion and professionalism running Coventry Bears for over 20 years is astounding and I am confident that the Midlands Hurricanes will be in good hands under his leadership.

“At Big Red we have a mantra ‘nothing is impossible’ and this certainly embodies this core belief.”

Midlands Hurricanes will be one of two new names in an 11-team League 1 in 2022 along with a new club for Cornwall. They will be up against two Welsh clubs – based in Wrexham and Llanelli – as well as London Skolars.

Next year 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.