The Canberra Brave's record-shattering Australian Ice Hockey League campaign has renewed calls for a new ice rink that could see finals and All-Star games played in the capital.
They are making a case to be known as one of the league's greatest ever teams but the minor premiers will effectively be the away team in a semi-final on Saturday.
Canberra's 24 regular season wins from 28 matches is the best return in club history, and the fourth-ranked Melbourne Mustangs are the only thing standing in the way of a third straight grand final appearance.
Canberra have dominated all comers while the Mustangs snuck into the playoffs - but their sudden death semi-final will be played on Melbourne's home ice at The Icehouse, the home of the AIHL finals weekend.
Why? The 38-year-old Phillip Swimming and Ice Skating Centre affectionately known as "The Brave Cave" doesn't match the standard set by the rest of the league.
The club regularly sells more than 1000 tickets at home games, with fans forced to line up at least 90 minutes in advance if they want a seat.
Brave director Warren Apps says a smaller capacity, a lack of corporate and media facilities and no glass around the rink means Canberra won't be considered for AIHL finals or All-Star weekends until a new venue is built.
"We certainly couldn’t do that at the moment but if we had a new venue, that would certainly open up opportunities for us to host major events like the finals and All-Star weekend," Apps said.
"We have a very large, rusted on hockey supporter base here, so it would put us in a position where we could mount a pretty strong case to host some of those major events, without a doubt.
"We love the Brave Cave, it’s one of the most unique rinks in Australia. It does have that cauldron-like atmosphere and we know the opposing teams don’t enjoy the trip to Canberra.
"It also provides a really unique spectator experience, it’s almost really grassroots, you’re right on top of the play. I think it actually plays into our hands, it’s become a real trademark of the team around the league.
"No doubt it also has a lot of shortcomings. If we had a more modern venue we would no doubt grow our supporter base even further."
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr made an election commitment in 2016 to use $75,000 to start planning for a new venue in south Canberra, and the options paper put together with the ACT Ice Sports Federation is "all but done".
Federation president Tony Prescott has plans for a facility with two rinks, with the options paper evaluating costs for different configurations, business viability, and the demand for a new facility.
"We’re very keen to bring events to Canberra, such as national and international events and tournaments," Prescott said.
"We think it is really important that a new facility provides opportunities for local kids in Canberra to grow in the sport and develop.
"Our top priorities will be to work across the Canberra community to bring kids into ice sports and to create those opportunities for kids to progress from junior levels of sport all the way up to national leagues and national teams.
Ice hockey in Canberra appeared doomed when the Canberra Knights folded a month before the 2014 season, citing financial issues, poor performances and lack of local-based players as the reasons behind the demise.
Barr's announcement two years ago capped off a stunning effort to restore the capital as a competitive ice hockey city after the Brave emerged from the ashes to make five consecutive finals appearances - with this season looming as a chance for a third straight grand final.
This season's crop is a red hot favourite to take out the Brave's first Goodall Cup.
Saturday: Semi-finals - Canberra Brave v Melbourne Mustangs, 3pm. Perth Thunder v Sydney Bears, 6pm. Both games at The Icehouse.
Sunday: Grand final - Winner of semi-final 1 v Winner of semi-final 2 at The Icehouse, 3pm.