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April 15, 2013

Locals compete in Sabres' showcase

Tonawanda News — BUFFALO — For the past nine years, amateur hockey season hasn't truly ended until the Bowman Cup. Last night inside the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, the Buffalo Sabres hosted their annual showcase which puts teams of Buffalo area prospects against a similar all-star compilation from the Rochester area.

For those selected to represent the Buffalo and Rochester areas on the ice at First Niagara Center on Monday night, there was a lot of pride at stake. Just ask the Buffalo high school senior team that routed their Rochester rivals, 9-0.

"It's a great honor to play in this game," said St. Joe's senior Zachary Klapp. "It's a special moment to play against the guys in Rochester. A lot of bragging rights are on the line here and of course you want to go out and win."

The Bowman Cup showcase features three games. In addition to the high school senior squads there are also squads made up of high school juniors and those playing in junior hockey or prep schools. For the older squads, especially the high school seniors and junior/prep players, it's also an important opportunity for many of these players to get noticed by teams already planning for next season.

A handful of scouts and coaches were in the seats watching players. Among them was Michael Peca, the former NHL star turned head coach and general manager of the Buffalo Junior Sabres.

"I think a lot of times, a lot of these players might stand alone on their winter teams," Peca said. "Bringing everybody on a team in an all-star format where their ability is more comparable, now you see how they adjust and how they keep up with the pace of play."

The players seemed to adjust well, at least within Buffalo's lineup.

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