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Food, drink pairings warm up time spent at HarborCenter

Winter in Buffalo means two things: the air is cold and the rinks are hopping. It’s hockey season, so thousands of families across the region are on the constant move running from practice to games to tournaments and back again.

KeyBank Center is filled to the brim on a regular basis, and the crowds spill over into the neighboring HarborCenter for action from the surging Buffalo Beauts, Atlantic Hockey Association powerhouse Canisius College, and Junior Sabres.

Date nights and family meals become a myth during this intense time. If you find yourself at HarborCenter, make the best of the situation with these four suggestions for food and drink combos.

Snack attack

What’s more Bavarian than a pretzel and a fine Canadian pilsner? Packed with the carbs you’ll need to stay awake for those marathon tournament days or a quick pick-me-up between games, the sweet corn flavors of the adjunct beer complement the mustard dipping sauce wonderfully. At $8.50, it’s light fare that’s light on the wallet.

If you’re seeking something a little less dense, 716 Food & Sport at HarborCenter offers hummus with pretzel chips. The Mediterranean flavor would be great with the Woodbridge chardonnay available at the main kiosk – this quick treat is $9.

[Related: Canisius sweeps No. 13 North Dakota]

Summer love

For hockey families, the cold is a way of life. If your heart yearns for the warmth of seasons past, try a pair of freshly grilled Sahlen's hot dogs. Buffalo’s favorite franks go great with a tall Bud Light, and $11 is the perfect price for a slice of summer.

Border town

One of the benefits of living so close to Canada is that we get to share so much with our neighbors to the north. They’ve given us the gift of poutine and we’ve taken full advantage. The Power Play Poutine is a great take on the Canadian delicacy. The rich and salty flavor pairs well with a bright and crisp beer like Hayburner from Big Ditch Brewing – a border marriage made in heaven. The cost of the combo is $11.50.

Great date

If you find yourself in the same place at the same time as your significant other in the depths of the long and cold hockey season, consider yourself lucky, and definitely take the opportunity to celebrate.

Find a dark corner on the mezzanine and share a basket of Buffalo with your beau. 716's barbecue chicken fingers and a side of french fries make a lovely meal to share.

Grab a couple Southern Tier IPAs in 16-ounce cans and you’ve got yourself a date night. The bright citrus flavors of one of Buffalo’s favorite IPAs are a fantastic match for the tangy barbecue sauce and balance the salty fries. At less than $12 per person, this meal for two is a deal.

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