Sports History

The San Francisco Warriors

Originally playing in Philadelphia, the Warriors relocated to San Francisco in 1962, became the San Francisco Warriors (NBA) and called the Cow Palace home from 1962 to 1964 and from 1966 to 1971.

Wilt Chamberlain was the undisputed star of the San Francisco Warriors throughout the 1960s. Known as "Wilt the Stilt" and considered one of the greatest players in basketball history, Chamberlain shattered NBA scoring and rebounding records and changed the style of play forever. He was the only player in NBA history to average at least 30 points and 20 rebounds per game in a season, which he accomplished seven times. He is also the only player to average at least 30 points and 20 rebounds per game over the entire course of his NBA career.


The team was renamed the Golden State Warriors for 1971–72 and began playing almost all home games in the new Oakland Coliseum Arena (now Oracle Arena).

The San Francisco Seals, 1961.

Wilt Chamberlain of the San Francisco Warriors is surrounded by Detroit Pistons during the Warriors’ first game in S.F. at USF’s Memorial Gym in 1962. Chamberlain had 50 points and the Warriors won in overtime. Photo: Joe Rosenthal, The Chronicle

Ice Hockey

The Cow Palace hosted the San Francisco Seals ice hockey team from 1961 to 1967. The Seals were a minor league hockey team which played in the Western Hockey League. Their games against the rival Portland Buckaroos had the atmosphere of a heavyweight title fight, with games between the two teams routinely attracting crowds of 8,000 or more.

In 1991 the San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League made their debut at the Cow Palace, which hosted the team from 1991 to 1993, when the Sharks moved to their new arena in San Jose. 2012-14 saw the San Francisco Bulls playing at the Cow Palace. The Bulls were a professional minor ice hockey team of the ECHL, and an affiliate to the San Jose Sharks.

Roller Derby & the San Francisco Bay Bombers

Roller Derby was founded in 1935 by Leo A. Selzer and was first televised in 1948, becoming wildly popular with its exaggerated hits and falls (pro wrestling was a copycat). The Cow Palace was home to the famous (and infamous) San Francisco Bay Bombers. Stars on this team eventually included Charlie O'Connell, Joanie Weston (the “Blonde Bomber”), and Ann Calvello. The Bombers ruled the banked track at the Cow Palace until they moved to Kezar Stadium.

Watch a video profile of Joan Weston, the Bay City Bomber's "Blonde Bomber"


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