Another step has been taken toward the construction of an ice rink at the Casper Events Center - with it may come expanded ice time for local ice skating enthusiasts, touring ice shows and professional hockey.

Casper City Council on Tuesday approved a contract for the installation of a refrigerated floor at the city-owned arena.

The nearly $1.7 million deal was approved 7-2 and will pave the way for a fully-functioning regulation-sized rink at the nearly 8,400-seat venue by the end of the year. Ward I’s Keith Goodenough and Daniel Sandoval were the lone dissenting votes.

Casper mayor Paul Meyer said, once installed, the new sheet of ice will take some strain off the city’s lone sheet at the smaller Casper Ice Arena.

“I don’t stand in line to see the kind of demand that there is on (the) ice (at the ice arena), but when I hear stories about people out there at 2 a.m. playing - we need to take some pressure off of that ice,” Meyer said.

City officials say the full installation price tag will remain close to $2.6 million. The installation will, in part, be paid for through a $1 million donation from former Wyoming congressman John Wold.

The city is also hoping to land a minor league hockey franchise that will play at the Casper Events Center by 2015. In the meantime, city manager John Patterson said the sheet of ice may be able to lure ice shows, minor league hockey exhibitions, and possibly Colorado Avalanche exhibitions to the arena.

Patterson also said the sheet will be used for public skate when available.