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Top 12 NHL Arena Foods

By Robbie Raskin -- December 12, 2012 5:17 PM EST

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For most fans of the National Hockey League the toughest part of the lockout is not being able to watch the stars hit the ice. For some, though, the shuttered arenas mean no access to unique foods that are as tasty as they are overpriced. Do you fancy yourself a diehard food fan too? Then this handy list is your guide to eating your way across North America so that when you finally come back to the rink, you come hungry.

  1. PNC Arena - Home of the Carolina Hurricanes

    Tailgating - Carolina

    The most interesting and unique food in the NHL is not found within an arena. In fact, it is the parking lots around PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina where the American tradition of grilling up homemade favorites before the game is at its strongest in the NHL. Many of the tailgaters are willing to share their hospitality and cooking with visitors and a cold beer and hot plate of meat before puckdrop couldn't be finer. Kudos to 'Canes fans for banding together and creating great dishes for each home game. If you find yourself in Carolina an hour before a game, breathe deeply and inhale the aromas of barbecue sauce and spices - then grab some and savor it, the game can wait.

  2. Air Canada Centre - Home of the Toronto Maple Leafs

    Gourmet Hot Dogs - Toronto

    Toronto's Air Canada Centre has gained a reputation in many circles for having the most varied food options anywhere in the league. Atop the long list of options at the arena is Burkie's Dog House which serves way more than just the plain arena dog. The concept is simple; put a hot dog in a bun and then top it with every imaginable thing you can. One favorite is the Greek dog with feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, and olives. And of course, you've got to try the poutine dog. Opposite of placing meat onto fries, Burkie's tosses poutine onto the meat. An absolute must no matter if you thought you liked hot dogs or not.

  3. First Niagara Center - Home of the Buffalo Sabres

    Buffalo Wings - Buffalo

    Yes, the best Buffalo wings are found in their namesake city. First Niagara Place does a great job serving them in mass quantities, swimming in hot sauce or one of the dozens of other sauces you could cover your wings in. If you are salivating as much as you should be by now, you could head down to the rink for another local favorite, beef on weck. Oh right, the lockout. Keep salivating then...

  4. Bell Centre - Home of the Montreal Canadiens

    Montreal Smoked Meat - Montreal

    Ask any person in Canada where the world's best smoked meat is to be found and they will gravitate to the delis of Montreal, Schwartz's being the most famous of them. The famed sandwiches piled high with tender, fatty meat has been transported to Montreal's Centre Bell where fans and gourmands can continue to argue whether Montreal's smoked meat is better than New York's. It is.

  5. Wells Fargo Center - Home of the Philadelphia Flyers

    Cheesesteak- Philadelphia

    In Philly for a hockey game? Try a cheesesteak. In Philly for any other reason? Try a cheesesteak. It is simply what you must do if you fancy yourself a foodie. If you happen to find yourself at Wells Fargo Center for a Flyers game then you must try a cheesesteak. Thick with beef and of course, melted cheese, this dish is expensive but will fill you up in true Philadelphia style.

  6. Staples Center - Home of the Los Angeles Kings

    Burritos - Los Angeles

    At Staples Center, Camacho's Cantina is the go-to foodstop for fans in the know. Serving up a collection of authentic Mexican dishes, their burritos and enchiladas are most famous for being filling and scrumptious. Camacho's is already famous on the streets of LA and it only makes sense that it would be brought into the arena for sports fans to enjoy.

  7. Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum - Home of the New York Islanders

    Cupcakes - New York Islanders

    So cupcakes aren't the macho arena fare that you can shove your face into and emerge covered in sauce and meat chunks, but they are one of the most delicious and interesting items for sale at NHL concession booths. With dozens of varieties on a rotating menu, a stop by the Cupcake Kitchen of Huntington Village along the arena concourse will surely satisfy your sweet tooth after your manly trip to the beer garden down the hall.

  8. MTS Centre - Home of the Winnipeg Jets

    Perogies - Winnipeg

    The 1800s saw a huge influx of Ukrainian and Eastern European settlers moving to the Canadian Prairies and Winnipeg quickly became a center for the ethnic community. Fast forward to 2011 and Winnipeg is home once again to the Jets. At their modern arena an old treat prevails when it comes to serving grateful hockey fans; perogies are savoury dumplings filled with potatoes and cheese and, like poutine, anything else that can fit inside. They are filling and tasty and make for an incredible gametime dinner.

  9. American Airlines Center - Home of the Dallas Stars

    Tequila - Dallas

    Texas and Mexico have a lot in common, including a love of tequila! With that in mind, a trip to el Jimador Tequila Bar is a crucial part of the Stars' fan experience for those who are old enough to drink. A nice touch is that the bar stays open for an hour after the game ends instead of closing during the third period like so many other bars around the league, proving the adage that everything is bigger in Texas including your hangover the morning after a Stars' victory.

  10. TD Garden - Home of the Boston Bruins

    Lobster Rolls- Boston

    From Massachussets to the Maritimes, lobster is among the freshest and most delicious offerings fresh from the ocean. Fans at Boston's TD Banknorth Garden get the chance to enjoy impossibly stuffed lobster rolls that link fans from the ice to the ocean just minutes away. For fresh and local it is hard to do better than a combo of rolls and fries with sea salt as well as a Bruins game.

  11. United Center - Home of the Chicago Blackhawks

    Deep Dish Pizza - Chicago

    Chicago is known as the windy city and people use a lot more energy walking into the gusts. Therefore the uniquely Chicagoan take on thin Italian pizza; the sticky, meaty deep dish option is a justified increase in calories, or so some might try to convince themselves. Regardless of caloric excess, you didn't go to the arena to lose weight and so a sampling of the United Center's pan-filling pizza is a must when in town for a Blackhawks game.

  12. Canadian Tire Centre - Home of the Ottawa Senators

    Poutine - Arenas Across Canada

    Regarded by many to be Canada's national dish, this collection of fries, gravy, and cheese curds, as well as whatever else you can throw on top spread from humble Quebec roots to a phenomenon coast-to-coast-to-coast. Varieties range from the classic with nothing more than the gravy and curds but more lethally delicious varieties exist too. For example, Spud's Poutinerie at Winnipeg's MTS Centre serves up a bacon, sausage, and maple syrup concoction. Does it sound delicious? No. That is until you try it, when it becomes one of the greatest dishes ever served at an arena. Your heart won't thank you and neither will your waistline yet you will probably find yourself travelling from rink to rink searching for the next flavor combination to satisfy your fix.

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