Canberra's dreams for a new ice rink could be one step closer to reality with the ACT government setting money aside in the budget to fund a new facility.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr promised in 2016 to start building a new ice rink in Canberra before the next election.
In its mid-year budget review, the government has listed the ice rink under "more jobs for our growing city" but has not disclosed how much money it was willing to front for commercial reasons.
A government-commissioned report last year presented a number of options for the new rink, the most ambitious being a $35-million, two-storey, two-rink facility.
According to the ACT Ice Sports Federation, the ACT has the highest number of players per rink in almost all Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries.
With more than 500 registered ice hockey players to the one rink, the capital came behind only the Czech Republic, which had about 550 players to each of the country's 206 rinks.
Federation president Tony Prescott said seeing funding set aside for the rink was good news.
"It's the first kind of confirmation that we've seen that they've actually budgeted money for it," Mr Prescott said.
"We'll work with everyone to make this a reality."
The government previously said it did not intend to be the primary source of funding for the rink.
"The government has provisioned funding to support the construction of a new ice sports facility in Canberra by the private sector, subject to the outcomes of [a tender] process," the review said.
A spokeswoman for Sports Minister Yvette Berry said the government still aimed to put out a tender for the new rink early this year.
However, the ACT opposition spokesman for sports, James Milligan, said the funding provision still didn't provide certainty for a new rink.
"Canberra’s ice sporting community deserves certainty about its future," Mr Milligan said.
"We need a larger, state of the art facility to host competitions and events for the growing fan base here in the ACT.
“The community has waited long enough to know exactly what the future of ice skating in the ACT will look like."
Mr Prescott said he'd rather see the job done right than meet Mr Barr's promise of starting construction by 2020.
"The deadline ... it was really a benchmark," Mr Prescott said.
"We've waited 38 years now; if it means we have to wait another year, that's fine."
The owner of the Macquarie Ice Rink in Sydney, Dr Frank Gregg, said the proposed two-rink option would not be financially viable, but said his one-rink facility makes a strong profit.
"I'd never have an asset that wasn't making a profit. I'd get rid of it," Dr Gregg said.
"All you to have the have is the support of the community, which [Macquarie] has."
The Macquarie rink, which is attached to the Macquarie shopping centre in Sydney's north-west, recently faced potential closure.
Landowners AMP Capital had plans for a billion-dollar redevelopment of the site, which including replacing the current Olympic-sized rink with a smaller recreational one.
However, following strong community outcry, the plans were put on hold.
Mr Prescott saying there was just as strong community support for the rink in Canberra.
"No one has ever said we don't need new facilities," he said.
"This a community facility similar to that of Olympic pools and governments need to be very mindful of investing in these community facilities the way they do in other facilities."
The federation has said the $35 million option would be the best, allowing Canberra's ice sports community to run simultaneously with public skating sessions.
Dr Gregg said his one-rink facility in Sydney ran a full schedule from 5.30am to 11pm daily.
The options paper written by Lockbridge also presented the option of a $22 million one-rink, two-storey facility for Canberra.
The paper estimated that the rink could make an annual profit of nearly half-a-million dollars if it saw a patronage of at least 50,000 people each year.
Canberra's current 38-year-old rink in Phillip is not up to international standards, with a smaller rink than the regular Olympic size.
The current manager, John Raut, has previously said the rink is near the end of its life and any major renovations would need to see the rink closed, potentially permanently fragmenting Canberra's ice sports community.
The rink is also home to the capital's own ice hockey team, the Canberra Brave, who won the national championship last year.