It all began in 1991, well technically 1967. The California Golden Seals were the first official bay area NHL team. The team struggled out the gate after an unsuccessful tenor in Oakland and the Seals moved to Cleveland in 1976. After worse attendance then in Oakland, the team merged with the Minnesota North Stars and eventually became the Dallas Stars in 1997.
The Gunds, who were minority owners of the Seals and became majority owners of the North Stars, wanted to bring hockey back to the Bay. Although the league didn’t want to take the North Stars away from Minnesota, another owner was trying to bring a team to San Jose, CA. So they struck a deal, the Gunds would sell their share of the North Stars and the Gunds would get a hockey team in San Jose. They joined the NHL in the 1991-1992 season.
The Sharks had a rocky start like most expansion teams. They set a NHL record for most losses in a season at 71 and suffered a 17 game losing streak earning only 24 points in the standings in their second season. Even with the awful season the Sharks led the NHL in merchandise sales with 150 million. In the third season they made the playoffs for the first time and defeated the number one seeded Detroit Red Wings in seven games, which became one of the biggest upsets in Stanley Cup history.