There have been numerous attempts since the Frozen Four was held in St. Louis in 2007 to secure the event again for the city, and Frank Viverito has experienced no shortage of reminders.
It’s what he called the “most requested event” in his job as the president of the St. Louis Sports Commission.
Persistence paid off Wednesday when the championships of NCAA hockey were awarded to the Enterprise Center in 2025 along with a regional in 2024 at the Centene Community Ice Center.
“I’m elated to have the Frozen Four. That would be the No. 1 event of all the bids that we were interested in,” Viverito said. “I would be hard-pressed to think of any event that was more joyfully received in St. Louis. It’s part of an almost perfect narrative with the events the Blues and St. Louis have had.”
St. Louis also landed the first and second rounds of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament for 2026 as well as some lower-division championships. Getting the NCAA Tournament games was gratifying after St. Louis lost games in March when the tournament was canceled.
However, the volume of events awarded to St. Louis was not what Viverito has come to expect. The sports commission bid on 51 events out of hundreds that were awarded for fall 2022 to spring 2026.
The biggest letdown was the inability to secure the men’s or women’s soccer championships, which Viverito envisioned being played in the city’s MLS stadium.
“I’m disappointed by the overall number of events. But I’m very glad we got basketball, especially since we lost an event this year,” Viverito said. “I’m disappointed we didn’t get wrestling or soccer. I do know that sometimes the NCAA and others are reluctant to go to facilities that aren’t built.”
Undeterred, Viverito said he envisions a time when the soccer championships become a regular event in St. Louis because of the city’s history with the sport.
Other events that were awarded to St. Louis include the D-II women’s golf championships in 2023 at Fox Run Golf Club and the D-III tennis championships in 2024 at the Dwight Davis Tennis Center.
The host institution for the Frozen Four will be the University of Vermont, which on its surface seems unusual. The connection? Blues president Chris Zimmerman played hockey at Vermont.
“On a personal level,” Zimmerman said, “getting the chance to partner with my alma mater … to bring the Frozen Four to St. Louis is exceptionally gratifying.”
The 2007 championships won by Michigan State included future Blues player T.J. Oshie, who was a sophomore at North Dakota. St. Louisan Ben Bishop played as a goalie for Maine, which lost in the semifinals to Michigan State.
Viverito said the sports commission has pursued the Frozen Four in every NCAA bid cycle since 2007, but it has moved to many cities and the competition has increased over the years. The sports commission also sought the women’s hockey championships.
“Not only were the games (in 2007) sold out, but we didn’t have the opportunity to put those tickets on sale to the general public,” Viverito said. “It was as tough a ticket as anything we’ve produced. The event has loosened for tickets, so we hope we’ll be able to sell some locally.”
Although St. Louis didn’t secure the wrestling championships for 2023 through ‘26, the event will be held in 2021 at Enterprise Center. The sports commission also will host the Olympic gymnastics trials at Chaifetz Arena next year.
And the sports commission is waiting on decisions on the U.S. figure skating championships and the Olympic swim trials.
“I can never read the minds or crystal balls of the NCAA,” Viverito said. “But we’ll be fine.”
Reporter Tom Timmermann contributed information for this report.
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