The Bay Area has a rich history of successful teams across all leagues. And the San Jose Sharks are no exception as they head toward this year's NHL playoffs — even though their status as a Bay Area afterthought means that tickets are still available.
Most recently, the Giants and the Warriors have had stretches with multiple championships — the Dubs, of course, are still in the midst of their title run. The 49ers are well represented on the Super Bowl front, winners of five in six appearances. Oakland, for all of their almost past two decades of relative insignificance, have brought home three Lombardi trophies in five chances. We also cannot forget the A's, with their 70s three-peat and their sweep of the Giants in the '89 "earthquake series."
Yet, success is not always measured by championships. Which brings us to the San Jose Sharks. This franchise, which began in the 1991-'92 NHL season, has sustained excellence throughout the team's existence, beginning almost immediately. In the franchise's third season, San Jose broke through, earning a playoff spot and even making it past the first round before eventually falling to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Conference Semi-Finals.
With the 2018-'19 season drawing to a close, the current San Jose club has locked up another playoff spot, continuing their postseason familiarity. With all of the storied franchises the Bay Area boasts, coming from the big three major American professional sports leagues (MLB, NFL, NBA), it's easy for fans to forget the hockey team from the far-south end of the Bay. However, what this franchise has been able to do is spectacular.
Since its inception, the San Jose Sharks franchise has made the playoffs in 21 of 27 seasons. This includes a consecutive postseason appearances streak of 10–from 2003-'04 to 2013-'14–and an incredible 19 of the past 21 seasons. No Bay Area team has been able to keep up with that type of consistency over that long of a stretch, during the time in which the Sharks have existed as a franchise.
As was stated earlier, San Jose is still missing the grail, which is Lord Stanley's Cup. A championship would solidify their place as a storied Bay Area franchise and possibly awaken more fans to what they've been able to accomplish throughout the years.
A lot of things are happening around the rest of the Bay Area and its teams. The Raiders are moving to Las Vegas in a couple of years, which will deal a major blow to the rich history of Bay Area professional football as well as to the many heartbroken Oakland faithful. The Warriors are picking up and moving across the Bay to San Francisco, leaving Oakland with just one remaining professional sports franchise–the A's. Those very Oakland A's have preliminary plans in the works to build a brand new, state-of-the-art facility sometime in the future, abandoning the current Coliseum/Arena site.
With the Raiders departing, the piece of the Bay Area pie will grow for each remaining team and team success will dictate where those fans gravitate to. Now, hockey fans will not be created overnight. However, fans who currently enjoy traveling to Oakland to see either the Raiders or Warriors play may be intrigued to head a little farther south to see the Sharks and their consistently excellent product. SAP Center is fun, family friendly, and has the electric atmosphere of a fanbase that is engaged and truly loves its team. For those reasons and so many others, San Jose's future continues to look bright, should the team continue its path of sustained success.