(chapter three)

Soon the Amsterdam games were upon them. With 12 players (some joining them from others cities), they packed their bags for Amsterdam. The games were incredibly fun and the team walked away with a record of 1-3.

1998 Amsterdam Gay Games Schedule
     Aug. 1 3:15pm SoCal Blades [L 4-3]
     Aug. 2 6:15 pm Team Seattle [L 5-3]
     Aug. 3 11:30 am DC Nationals [W 3-2]
     Aug. 6 8:30 am Boston Pride [L 11-3]


The San Francisco Earthquakes at the 1998 Gay Games in Amsterdam
back row: Dan W. (guest from Pennsylvania), Karen M., Tom ?., David B., guest from Canada, Mike K., Dan H. front row: Guest from Canada, Mike R, John H., ?, Bob ?.

After the great experience at the games (both on and off the ice), the team continued to play together in Oakland as the Huskies and continued to grow.

“I remember that I joined because I hung out with the team in Amsterdam (I went as a tourist, not a participant). I really wanted the team to win, but they did not do so well. I was encouraged by several people to take lessons and learn to play, then join the team if I still wanted to,” says current team member Mark B.

Although they were born on ice in Oakland, the team wanted to move to San Francisco (since the crest does say "San Francisco Earthquakes"). In 1999, soon after the new Yerba Buena ice rink opened in downtown San Francisco, the Earthquakes told their Huskie teammates in Oakland that they were moving across the bay. They invited their teammates to join them in San Francisco and be part of the official San Francisco Earthquakes - a few did follow the team, knowing full well they were playing for a gay hockey team. Those early years in San Francisco were tough. Ten players on the bench was normal for years - as was losing, but the Earthquakes stuck with it.

"At first we [the Earthquakes] lost a lot of games but we always had fun. At the very beginning of this team I let it be known that if you could not deal with losing then maybe this wasn't the team for you. Winning is great, but everyone is treated as an equal on this team... it's not like other teams where the best people play the most and the lower skilled sub," founder Karen reiterates.

Soon the team started promoting themselves at events such as San Francisco Pride and the Castro St. Fair. The team gathered more players and started winning more games. With a full roster of 15, the Earthquakes are now a well established team in their league in San Francisco. They continue to have fun and continue to improve. In 2002, making their second appearance at a Gay Games, they walked away with the Gold for their division, a true testament to the founders’ love of hockey and their love for the team they founded.

“Winning the gold was the most awesome thing I've ever experienced with the Quakes and really a highlight of my life-- I don't know how else to say it. The team came together like it had never done before and this experience seems to have really helped us grow. Our record after our return indicates that to me”, says Mark B.

The process of starting the Earthquakes has been a great experience for Karen M., "We had our little incidences here and there but for the most part it's worked out. We have [many] different levels but it's all worked out. No other team is like ours and I am so happy for the group of people I've met."

David B. reiterates Karen’s sentiment, “Playing hockey for the Earthquakes has been one of the most enjoyable activities of my life," he said. "In fact, I've already told my teammates that I want to die on the ice and be buried in my hockey skates. It isn’t too far from the truth."

The Earthquakes hockey team continued to grow. In the summer of 2003 the Earthquakes unveiled the newest addition to their family, the Earthquakes Deux. "The Deux" was the sister team to the San Fran Earthquakes. Appropriately enough they made their start in Oakland, on the same ice the San Francisco team started so many years ago. Their first season also was filled with fun, laughter, great folks, and the occasional win.

In 2006, the Silver Quakes was formed to play in a more competitive league in Oakland. This team was made up of the more advanced players from San Francisco and a few new recruits. The team was strong for several seasons with many players playing on both the SF and Oakland teams. During this period there were 3 active Earthquakes teams in the Bay area.

In 2009, both Oakland teams disbanded as many players moved away or were otherwise unable to continue playing. This left just the one San Francisco team intact. Interestingly, nearly half of the original Earthquakes team is still playing in SF.

<- back to chapter two history  

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