Kindred Group’s Unibet brand has signed a two-year sponsorship deal with Swedish professional ice hockey league HockeyAllsvenskan.

Beginning from 1 July, Unibet will serve as the main sponsor of HockeyAllsvenskan, the second-highest league in the Swedish ice hockey system behind the Swedish Hockey League (SHL).

Kindred said that the agreement is part of its long-term strategy to give back to sports, and follows its historic agreement with Swedish Elite Football (Svensk Elitfootboll) last year, which will see Unibet sponsor the country’s top two football leagues, Allsvenskan and Superettan, from 2020.

“Hockey Allsvenskan describes itself as "the challenge league - the Swedish people's league" and this is something we recognize very much,” said Kindred Group general manager for Sweden Dersim Sylwan. “We know the genuine commitment and struggle that lies behind the league's success.

“Now we want to contribute to raising the economic and sporting conditions for Hockeyallsvenskan. Unibet has for 20 years been striving to have the opportunity to contribute to the development of Swedish sports. We are proud and happy to be Hockeyallsvenskan's main sponsor.”

As part of the deal, SEK3m will be allocated to support CSR-related projects among the 14 clubs in the league, targeting efforts to counter match-fixing and problem gambling.

“It feels great to welcome Unibet to Hockey Allsvenskan,” said HockeyAllsvenskan commercial manager Gabriel Niklasson. “We look forward to working with Unibet to develop a sustainable, open and inclusive hockey experience that creates more emotions for more people.

“Above all, for all our supporters and our audience who are the most important to us. The collaboration makes us all stronger and will, in the short and long term, make Hockey Allsvenskan and clubs better.”

HockeyAllsvenskan CEO Stephan Guiance added: “It is very gratifying that a company like Unibet with its resources and its brand chooses to enter into partnership with us. This means that we can with great confidence plan and develop for the future.”

Shares in Kindred Group plc. (STO:KIND-SDB) closed up 0.68 per cent at SEK76.46 per share in Stockholm Thursday.