Professional hockey could soon be coming to Casper.

Casper mayor Kenyne Schlager says city officials are very close to approving a franchise and lease agreement with a minor league hockey organization.

“We are unbelievably close,” Schlager said. “I hope we can make an announcement here in the next month or so.”

In September, Casper City Council agreed to foot $1.2 million toward installation of a rink and refrigeration plant at the 8,395-seat Casper Events Center.

Former Wyoming congressman John Wold has agreed to cover the rest of the $2.2 million installation bill through a private donation if the city signs a franchise agreement.

Schlager says ice-making capabilities would add value and versatility to the aging arena, and would also allow the city to book ice shows and figure skating exhibitions.

Council also recently came to an agreement with Hussey Seating, a Maine-based firm, to install new chairback seating at the facility.