A popular sweepstakes paved the way for the selection of the team's name, "Sharks". Submissions for the national sweepstakes to help name the Bay Area NHL expansion franchise came from as far north as Manitoba in Canada, as far east as Bar Harbor, Maine, and as far south as Coral Gables, Florida. One even came from Italy.
They came in the form of sea creatures, fictional characters and computer components. More than 2,300 of them were submitted by more than 5,700 entrants in hopes of winning the grand prize trip for two to the 1991 National Hockey League All-Star Weekend in Chicago.
In a random sweepstakes drawing, San Jose attorney Allen Speare was selected as the grand prize winner. Other entries were submitted from participants representing California and nearly every other state and Canadian province. The top-15 names submitted, in alphabetical order, were: Blades, Breakers, Breeze, Condors, Fog, Gold, Golden Gaters, Golden Skaters, Grizzlies, Icebreakers, Knights, Redwoods, Sea Lions, Sharks and Waves.
Club management selected the team name "Sharks," aided by suggestions acquired during the sweepstakes.
"The involvement of hockey fans throughout the Bay Area, the state of California and all over North America was outstanding," said Matt Levine, then the team's executive vice president of marketing and broadcast. "We were considering several alternatives for a name prior to the sweepstakes, but the creativity shown by many of the entrants was of great benefit to us."
The "Name the New NHL Team" sweepstakes was designed to thank hockey fans for their initial support of a new team for Northerm California and to give them an opportunity to offer ideas for the new team's name. Along with Speare's grand prize, entrants were awarded an additional 200 sweepstakes prizes ranging from Stanley Cup videos and NHL publications to official NHL pucks and commemorative sweepstakes hockey stick pens.
In selecting a team name, club management was looking for something that would appeal to children and adults. It needed to be a name that would inspire graphic logo applications for uniforms, merchandise, promotional items, hockey educational materials, etc. "Sharks" fit all of the above and also made sense from other viewpoints: