But to get to Amsterdam a team had to be formed. With improved skills
on the ice, they decided to join the Oakland Ice Center Adult Hockey
league. They also decided on a name for the team: The Penguins (a
name founder Karen was not a fan of - she had always dreamed of
Earthquakes as the name of the team, even before their was a team
to name). The only problem was the Penguins only had 8 or 9 committed
players - not enough to field a full team in Oakland.
So in the summer of 1996 they all joined other teams that were looking
for players – namely the Coyotes and Rangers. The following
season - fall 1996 - everyone, along with some defectors from the
Coyotes and Rangers (in addition to some gay players who had not
yet joined a team), reunited and formed the Huskies. The Huskies
were the original start of what would later become the Earthquakes.
That first season in Oakland they made it into the Bronze Division
playoffs but lost in the finals. Not bad for their first season.
Oakland Huskies - the original San Francisco Earthquakes
"I must say that my main focus when starting this team was
to have a team where all levels could play and for everyone to feel
comfortable playing. I've played on many teams before and a lot
of time the fun was taken out because all the emphasis was on winning
and people started not having a good time because of the tension
surrounding winning." says Karen.
As their team playing skills evolved, so did the Huskies. As it
turned out, Karen wasn't the only one who didn't like this new team
name either. After some voting, Earthquakes was the new name. Along
with the name came colors for the team: they decided on the Sabres’
jerseys and colors: red, gray, white, and black. Needed next was
"I drew up a sample black bridge, red lettering, grey background
(the bridge had the words San Francisco Earthquakes under it)....Mike
[K.] found a picture of a bridge which is the bridge on our crest.
We took my drawing and the picture of the bridge Mike found to a
silk screener who helped us pick out the lettering font and size.
Once we had the jersey logo together we showed everyone," says
That is when Dan H suggested the idea that the letters that spelled
out “Earthquakes” be cracked in half - and so was born
the Earthquakes' crest the team still wears today.
To get some tournament experience before the 1998 Amsterdam Gay
Games, a few players (Capt. Mike K., John H., and a few past Earthquake
players) traveled to the 1997 3rd Annual Toronto Friendship Tournament.
In early 1998 a majority of the team attended the “Slide for
Pride” Seattle Tournament. The tournaments were incredibly
fun and were only a taste of what was to come at the Gay Games.
They also continued to get as much ice time as they could before
the Games. “I remember one time when we went to pickup hockey
in Redwood City,” says David B. “We played against a
number of players from China's national hockey team. Boy, were we
out of our league, but we had so much fun, and it really took us
to a higher level of play.”