CASPER, Wyo. — The Casper Ice Arena could receive a second sheet of ice if the City Council moves forward on an idea presented to them by Casper Amateur Hockey Club representatives.
The representatives said the new facility would have an estimated cost of $8 to $9 million.
Having a second ice rink would allow more tournaments and events to be held, addressing the concerns of some users at the current facility.
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The City Council discussed the proposal on Tuesday, June 11. Councilman Steve Freel asked that the topic receive attention.
“We have a lot of users using this ice, the impact is just huge,” the hockey club’s Pat Bower said.
He added that children are often finishing practice at the current facility after 10 pm due to the high use.
Bower said that the City is actually losing revenue because they are unable to book additional tournaments and events due to there being minimal open time slots to rent out the space.
He said that $85,000-$95,000 can be generated from a single weekend tournament, gathering that estimate from Visit Casper information.
Casper lost a bid to hold a state hockey tournament to Douglas due to the time constraints, where the hockey club representatives said the tournament was held in a barn.
Councilman Mike Huber asked why the schedule couldn’t be modified to prioritize such tournaments.
Councilman Steve Freel said that he thought it would be easier for smaller communities to make time for such events.
He said that current user groups would benefit from the extra space and time that a second ice sheet would allow.
During the off-season, other activities could be facilitated at the facility, mimicking a model implemented about eight years ago in Rapid City, the hockey group said.
Bower added that adding a second sheet would make it the only facility in the state with two rinks.
“I feel like this puts us on a map for the future,” he said, adding that it could draw people from around the state and country to Casper.
Councilman Chris Walsh said for him, the question would be how much the facility would cost.
Bower said the hockey club would be willing to fund studies to see whether the project would be economically feasible. He said that this could be used to inform a request for proposals to construct the facility if the City moves forward on the project.
There is also additional equipment already at the current facility which could be used to mitigate the cost of adding a second ice sheet.
City Manager Carter Napier said that he thought the right next step, should Council be interested, would be to take up the hockey club’s offer to conduct the economic feasibility study.
The Council agreed with Napier’s suggestion and gave their thumbs up for the study.
“We’re not just talking about hockey,” Khrystyn Lutz said, pointing out that things like indoor soccer also demand more space.
“There is a huge need for this,” Freel added.
“Looking further into it, I’d like to see it,” Councilman Ken Bates said.
The Casper Ice Arena is located at 1801 East 4th Street in Casper.
Further details of the proposal are included in the Council’s work session work packet.