Construction on a multi-million dollar ice rink in Canberra could be delayed until after the 2020 election, despite a 2016 government promise to start building within four years.
But the government hopes the prospect of making $2 million per year, if 150,000 people attended a two-storey, two-rink facility, could attract investors to the project.
The government will call for expressions of interest early in 2019 and will consider providing some financial or non-financial contributions to support the facility - but it doesn't intend to directly own or be the primary funding source for the rink.
Advocates say the need for a new rink is urgent as Canberra's ice sports community grows and the 38-year-old rink in Phillip reaches the end of its life.
Sports Minister Yvette Berry released a commissioned options paper for a new ice rink on Wednesday which included costing for a range of facility options, including a $35 million, two-storey building housing two ice rinks.
After the last election, Chief Minister Andrew Barr said construction of a new rink would start within this term, and his government would provide capital and planning assistance.
“Construction will commence within the four year parliamentary term and the government will make a capital contribution in addition to providing appropriate support around land use and planning," Mr Barr told City News in 2016.
An ACT sports directorate spokeswoman said, given the need for a private sector partner or partners, "a potential construction timeframe will not be known until after the [expressions of interest] process is complete".
The options paper suggested a range of possible designs but also noted that after initial estimates the design had been "value-managed" to find savings.
The authors of the paper, Lockbridge, were contacted for comment.
Warren Apps, the director of the capital's ice hockey team, Canberra Brave, said there was an urgent need for an upgraded facility as the team looked to expand its fan base and foster more local talent.
"The need is becoming more and more critical," he said.
"We sell out most of our games but we know that there's a large audience that would attend if the facility was up to scratch.
"We could probably double our crowds more or less overnight."
The Phillip rink's current capacity is about 750 to 900 spectators, with Lockbridge's most expensive suggestion catering for about 1800 people.
The report estimates that, after costs, revenue for the $35 million, two-storey, two-rink facility could exceed $2 million a year if the new rink saw 150,000 patrons a year.
The paper assumed patronage would increase with a new facility but admitted there was "no direct evidence to support this theory".
But Canberra's strongest demand for a new facility comes from its ice hockey community.
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.
For the the capital to meet the OECD average of about 119 players per rink, the federation said Canberra would need four rinks.
Mr Apps said the two biggest problems facing ice sports in Canberra were the age of the Phillip rink and the lack of ice time available for sporting clubs to train.
He said with a new two-rink, or "twin sheet", facility, casual skaters could use one rink while sports clubs trained on the other.
The manager of the current rink, John Raut, said any new facility would have to be built elsewhere to avoid shutting down the ice in Phillip.
"[Otherwise] there would be a situation where there would be no facility, then all the sports would die and there would be no demand," Mr Raut said.
"You'd have to start from scratch."
But Mr Raut said he didn't believe anything bigger than a sheet and a half was financially viable.
"It's a tight schedule at the moment but everyone who wants to play plays," he said.
Olympic Winter Institute of Australia chief executive Geoff Lipshut said Australia had seen exponential growth in ice sports in the last 20 years.
He pointed to the eight rinks across NSW, including four in Sydney, plus plans to open a fourth in Melbourne's west.
"Canberra in winter is a real winter sports town," Mr Lipshut said.
"I think you could establish a really successful ice sports community and culture that would grow."