Officials believe in teens' plan to bring NHL team to Arkansas

CNN/KFSM
Sunday, July 13, 2014 - 5:00pm

A group of teenagers is working on a proposal to possibly bring a professional hockey team to Fort Smith, Arkansas.

The $450 million plan started as a senior class project.

"This will be creating history for the whole state," said Brock Smith, who along with Nico Treshnell, developed the plan before graduating from Union Christian Academy in Fort Smith.

"Anyone who is any kind of sports fan at all would enjoy this," Smith told CNN affiliate KFSM-TV.

Through four hundred hours of research they've devised a plan to keep kids of their generation in town.

What better way to do that than bring a pro hockey stadium and team to the area.

"We are thinking about an 18,500-seat arena," Treshnell said, thus bringing an electric atmosphere similar to Green Bay or Oklahoma City, to the river valley.

So the group brought their idea to city officials like Philip Merry, Fort Smith City Director who told KFSM-TV: "It just might happen."

Here's how the teens want to make it happen: a sales tax, naming rights, and asset backed securities.

Team funding would come from investors.

And of course one of the most important parts of the plan, a name: The Arkansas Marshals.

But with any big plan comes doubt. Paul Bridges, Union Christian superintendent is the teens' teacher.

(Reporter): "What would you tell people that might say this is too out of reach for Fort Smith?"

"That`s the natural response to anybody who first hears the idea. It's just Fort Smith we couldn't do anything like that," Bridges told KFSM-TV.

"There's a bunch of people around us even at our school saying you are working on a useless project," Smith said.

The teens are traveling to Green Bay with Merry to further research the possibility of bringing the marshals to town.

"Who knows the Arkansas Marshals will really happen. If it doesn't we will have learned a lot and something good will come out of it," Merry said.

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