Stu Cowan: Montreal-based company makes its mark at Islanders’ new arena

Delmar International, Inc., established as a Canadian customs broker in Montreal in 1965, purchased on-ice advertising for games at UBS Arena.

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The Canadiens wouldn’t have been the only ones representing Montreal on Monday night at the New York Islanders’ new UBS Arena had the game not been postponed by the NHL on Sunday due to COVID-19 concerns.

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The UBS Arena, located at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, opened on November 19 and cost $ 1.1 billion to build. Delmar International, Inc., which was established as a Canadian customs broker in Montreal in 1965, is one of the companies that has purchased an on-ice advertisement for every Islanders game. The cost to the Montreal-based company, which now has offices in 15 countries, was likely in the order of seven figures.

“Our company has received a lot of exposure from our association with Canadians over the years,” said Robert Cutler, CEO of Delmar International, in a statement announcing the advertising deal with the Islanders. “This is our home base, where we were established over 55 years ago. We are well known in Montreal and the Canadian market in general. Our company’s performance in the United States has been exceptional, so it was a prudent move.

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Frank Bello, a former U.S. Navy who has served as Delmar’s president of U.S. operations since 2015, is an Islanders fan and season pass holder.

Delmar’s bond with Montreal and hockey is strong. Former Canadian Mathieu Darche – now considered a prime candidate to become the team’s next general manager – was vice president of sales and marketing at Delmar for seven years before becoming director of hockey operations with the Lightning of Tampa Bay in 2019.

The man who replaced Darche in his role as vice-president at Delmar is Frederick Corey, the son of former Canadiens team president Ronald Corey.

“We felt New York was New York, that’s great exposure for our brand,” Corey said of the on-ice advertising at the Islanders new arena. “We’re doing very well there, but the brand is not as mature as it is here in Canada. It was a great opportunity for us.

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“We’ve seen the success we’ve had in Montreal supporting the Canadiens over the years, which includes rink ads and billboards and so on. Added Corey. “It’s always been a good investment for us here, so we’ll see how it translates there. “

Frank Bello has been Delmar's President of US Operations since 2015. He is also an Islanders fan and season ticket holder.
Frank Bello has been Delmar’s President of US Operations since 2015. He is also an Islanders fan and season ticket holder. Photo by Photo Courtesy of Delmar International, Inc.

Corey took a close look at the relationship between hockey and business during his father’s 17 years as president of the Canadiens, starting in 1982. The Canadiens won two Stanley Cups under Corey, in 1986 and 1993, and also moved to the Molson Center (now the Bell Center) in 1996. Corey is also the one who decided to fire head coach Jacques Demers and general manager Serge Savard after a 1995-96 start of the season 0-4- 0, replacing them with Mario Tremblay and Réjean Houle. This led to the feud between Patrick Roy and Tremblay two months later when the all-star goalie was left in goal for nine goals in an 11-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings at the Forum. After being finally pulled, Roy walked over to Corey sitting behind the Canadiens bench and told him he had played his last game with the team. Four days later, Roy was traded to the Colorado Avalanche.

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“I learned a lot of lessons from him,” young Corey said of his father. “On the business side, when he left the Canadiens, I was probably about 22, 23 years old. When we talked about the team, we were talking more about hockey operations than about the business of the Bell Center or the Molson Center. What he taught me in business and which I still apply today is how caring he was with his colleagues and employees. This is probably one of the biggest lessons I have witnessed from him is that he always had time for everyone. He still behaves this way today.

Ronald Corey turned 83 on December 13, but his son said he was in great shape, trained every day and “still played too much golf, according to my mom,” he said. added laughing.

What was it like growing up as the son of the president of the Canadiens?

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“It was fantastic because I was a huge hockey fan,” said Corey. “The access to the players, to the team in general, the fact of being able to attend the majority of the games was incredible. One of the first memories I have of my dad as president was the 1984 playoff race that ended against the Islanders when Steve Penney made some amazing playoffs and took us to the final of conference. I remember traveling with the team in New York to the old Nassau Coliseum. It really is one of the oldest memories I have… one of the many great things that has come about being the son of Ronald Corey and being able to witness some of these events.

“In business terms, growing up with him in this role and spending so much time with Canadians and sports teams and venues and so on, I’m definitely convinced that in terms of marketing and publicity efforts, they go a long way, “added Corey.” We’ve seen that here so I’m sure it will be successful in New York as well. “

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