Niagara Gazette — 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 our cup and we wanted it back this year," said Grand Island's Ty Gallagher, who along with his teammates claimed the Bowman Cup for Buffalo for its seventh time.
Gallagher, who played last season in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League and was recently traded to that league's Thorold Blackhawks, appreciated the honor in being selected for this all-star showcase.
"It's a really good feeling to be here," Gallagher said. "I'm really happy to be here and I expected this for Buffalo."
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."
Matt Peters of Niagara-Wheatfield was also chosen for the Buffalo senior roster. He and Gallagher were combined with players from all over the Buffalo area.
The high school junior squads opened the three-game series, with Team Buffalo featuring N-W's Anthony Vekich and Lew-Port's Tyler Shotwell.
"It's a great feeling. I've worked hard all season so to play a game like this, it's awesome," said Shotwell, whose Buffalo squad lost 4-1, though Shotwell allowed only one goal and made several impressive saves during his appearance in the latter stages of the game.
Among those on hand to take in the annual games was the man for whom the Cup was named, Hall of Famer and the National Hockey League's all-time winningest coach, Scotty Bowman, whose career included a stop in Buffalo. He remains a local resident.
Does he favor Team Buffalo to win the Bowman Cup every year, or does he simply want to see the best team win?
"No, I don't know much about the players," Bowman admitted. "You hope that it's as close as the game can be."
The players need not worry if Scotty Bowman isn't as familiar with their names. It's the scouts and coaches who were taking them down. With many programs about to hold their spring tryouts in preparation for next season, players are hoping last night will be only the first of many times these coaches may call out their names.Follow Michael online on Twitter at MrozGazette or email him at email@example.com