The arena's first tenants were the California Seals of the Western Hockey League, who moved across the bay from the Cow Palace in 1966. The owners of the San Francisco Seals had been awarded an expansion franchise in the National Hockey League on the condition they move out the Cow Palace and into the then-new Oakland Coliseum Arena. The team changed its operating name from San Francisco Seals to California Seals in order to draw fans from both San Francisco and Oakland. The Seals franchise continued to play at the arena after having transferred to the NHL, until the team moved to Cleveland after the 1975–76 NHL season.
The Oakland Skates, a professional roller Hockey team, played there from 1993 to 1995.