PHOTO: If you can't be at the rink you might as well be at a hockey-themed sports bar. (photo via Flickr/Stephen Yeargin)
Airports can be a stressful place, especially for hockey fans during Stanley Cup playoff season.
It's win-or-go-home time for the National Hockey League's (NHL) best, so the last place fans want to be when the puck drops is waiting to catch a flight at the airport.
Fortunately, there are several hockey-themed airport bars and restaurants travelers can check out right now.
Avenue des Canadiens
Located in the Domestic Terminal at Montreal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in Quebec, Canada, Avenue des Canadiens pays tribute to Montreal's beloved Canadiens.
Having won an NHL-leading 24 Stanley Cup titles over the past century, the Habs have developed quite the following; both casual and die-hard fans will appreciate Avenue des Canadiens thanks to its unique atmosphere, exciting menu and vast drink selection.
Popular dishes include rotisserie cooked baby back ribs, pan seared arctic char and a signature Club 1909 rotisserie chicken sandwich that honors the year the team was founded.
Hockey sticks, pennants and murals celebrate the Canadiens' decorated history while an adjacent retail store sells authentic team merchandise. Perhaps most importantly, there are plenty of TVs.
Hockey fans passing through Concourse H at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport will want to make a pitstop at the Minnesota Wild Bar.
Authentic hockey gear including sticks, helmets, pucks and jerseys line the walls, and TVs are visible throughout the bar and dining area so fans won't miss a second of Stanley Cup playoff action.
Delicious menu items here include Bavarian pretzel sticks, lobster grilled cheese and Wild Rice soup, a Minnesota classic.
Vancouver Canucks Bar & Grill
The Vancouver Canucks may be in the midst of a playoff drought, but fans won't go thirsty at the Vancouver Canucks Bar & Grill inside Vancouver International Airport's U.S. Terminal.
This bar is serving up premium spirits and beer, as well as local and international wines. The atmosphere here is less like a team-themed sports bar and more like sitting club level at a Canucks game in Rogers Arena.
Fresh, local ingredients fill a menu that offers something for everyone. There are vegetarian, gluten-free and heart-healthy options to munch on while you take in the game on one of many flatscreen TVs.
Anaheim Ducks Breakaway Bar & Grill
It's not hard to spot the Anaheim Ducks Breakaway Bar & Grill. The restaurant, which is located in Terminal C at John Wayne Airport, is designed to make travelers feel as if they're stepping into an ice hockey rink and features gigantic hockey sticks hanging over the bar area.
In addition to boasting an unbeatable view of the runway, the bar features a handful of TVs showcasing the Ducks and other NHL teams. Memorabilia pays homage to the home team and their 2007 Stanley Cup championship.
The breakfast, lunch and dinner menus offer a combination of upscale bar staples, South-of-the-Border options and California-infused cuisine.
Sharks Cage Sports Bar & Grill
The Ducks' bitter Pacific Division rival San Jose Sharks have a themed bar and grill of their own at San Jose International Airport's Terminal B.
The Sharks Cage Sports Bar & Grill is outfitted in the Sharks' can't-miss colors of teal, black and silver and features an ice hockey rink design on the floor. Sharks memorabilia will have fans feeling right at home while jumbo flatscreen TVs allow guests to view the action on the ice from every angle.
So grab a drink and a bite at the bar while you cheer on the NHL's defending Western Conference champions.
Stanley's Blackhawks Kitchen & Tap
The Chicago Blackhawks have been one of the league's most dominant franchises of late, winning three Stanley Cup titles since 2010. Travelers passing through Chicago's O'Hare International Airport can celebrate that success at Stanley's Blackhawks Kitchen & Tap in Terminal 2.
An offshoot of Stanley's in Downtown Chicago, the O'Hare location is undoubtedly the place to be for a Blackhawks playoff game. Local and craft beers are on tap while the menu features Southern-style items, including comfort foods like chicken pie and mac 'n cheese.
Stanley's is also a great place for traveling families since it offers a kids menu complete with mocktails and dessert.