(chapter one)

The history of the San Francisco Earthquakes is a sordid tale filled with passion, humor, revenge, and intrigue all played out by a cast of characters fit for a Danielle Steele novel. It goes a little something like this.....

Back in 1995 current team member Karen M. decided she wanted to attend the 1998 Gay Games in Amsterdam. She also decided that she wanted to attend as a hockey player. Two things were in her way...

1) there was no gay ice hockey team in the Bay Area to join
2) she didn't know how to play hockey.

She decided to approach her longtime friend John H and asked him if he would come and play if she tried to start up a ice hockey team. John was immediately on board.

Interesting sidenote: Karen and John had originally met in high school, having even gone out on a date together. They reconnected years later when they ran into each other at the White Horse (a gay bar in the East Bay) and have been close friends ever since.

Karen had John on board, but had to round up other hockey loving folks. She decided to put an ad in the Bay Area Reporter (the local San Francisco gay community newspaper) looking for people who were interested in playing hockey and going to Amsterdam. She put her number (and, unbeknownst to John, his phone number too - so guys would feel just as welcome as the ladies) and prayed for the phone to ring.

It wasn't long before roughly nine folks had contacted Karen and John about playing on the team. In the spring of 1996 those few folks met at the Castro Street Country Club on 18th and Castro in San Francisco for their first “team meeting”. They talked about what they wanted to accomplish, what skill levels everyone was, and how could they get a team off the ground and make it to Amsterdam.

"I started playing ice hockey on ponds in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, but my hockey career ended at 14 when my parents moved me to Florida," said David B. "It wasn't until I was much older and living in San Francisco that I got the itch to play again. I heard about the gay hockey team being formed and I went to the initial meeting and met a bunch of people who not only shared my interest, but who shortly thereafter became my friends.”

At that first meeting were current Earthquake team members Karen M., John H., Mike K., and David B. Also present were a wide variety of skill levels - from those who had never been on the ice to those who had played for years. It was suggested that everyone get some experience and time on the ice and improve their skills. A few members signed up for hockey lessons in San Jose. For months the group carpooled every Saturday morning from the city to the South Bay.

"We started taking hockey lessons early on Saturday mornings," says David B. "We were totally dedicated to getting up at 4:30 a.m. to hit the ice by 6 a.m. in Oakland, or to drive to San Jose to take lessons there. It was so much fun...”


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