Cloverdale resident Paul Bennett in a photo posted to his Facebook page.

Man shot dead in Surrey, B.C., ID’d as hockey coach and father of two

Murder of Paul Bennett – a respected Peace Arch Hospital worker and ‘champion of sport’ – ‘not random’

* This story has been updated

The man shot dead in Cloverdale on Saturday afternoon has been identified as Paul Bennett, a 47-year-old father of two children who coached minor hockey in the area.

Bennett, who worked as an operating-room nurse department manager at Peace Arch Hospital in White Rock, coached the Atom C3 Titans last season, his first as a hockey head coach, according to team manager Tamara Edwards.

“He was a great coach, son, husband, and father to two boys and a champion for the sport,” Edwards told the Now-Leader in an email Sunday morning.

The shooting happened at around 4 p.m. Saturday (June 23) in the 18200-block of 67A Avenue.

Surrey RCMP fielded a number of calls about shots fired in the Clayton area. When they arrived on scene, officers found a man with gunshot wounds. He was taken to hospital, where he died.

To gather evidence, the RCMP’s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) is now working with its partners from Surrey RCMP, the Integrated Forensic Identification Services and B.C. Coroners Service.

“This investigation is in its early stages and we need everyone with any information about this homicide to come forward,” stated Corporal Frank Jang, of IHIT, early Sunday.

According to an IHIT news release Sunday afternoon confirming Bennett’s identity and age, Jang said police believe “this was not a random incident. Investigators are working to determine motive.”

“We are releasing Mr. Bennett’s name in an effort to determine his activities and who he may have had contact with leading up to the shooting,” Jang said. “We need those with information about this murder to come forward and speak with IHIT.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the IHIT information line at 1-877-551- IHIT (4448), or by email at ihitinfo@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.

Just this month, Bennett was featured in a video presented by Peace Arch Hospital Foundation, explaining “the ABCs of laparoscopic surgery.”

Foundation executive director Stephanie Beck told Black Press Media that Bennett was considered exemplary by foundation staff and hospital staff alike.

“He was so well-respected in the hospital, a superstar in the OR,” Beck said. “He was extraordinary.

“Paul was always the first to volunteer to meet with donors and show them around the OR. He did tours all the time for us.”

Last hockey season, Bennett coached his Titans to a gold medal at a Spring Break tournament in Squamish, where the nine- and 10-year-olds went undefeated and earned first place after an exciting shootout.

“We had finished dead-last in our local Cloverdale tournament in January, so it was a remarkable turnaround for the kids,” team manager Edwards said at the time.

• READ MORE: Cloverdale team goes from worst to first in Atom hockey tourneys this season.

“You can imagine the excitement and pride of the players, as well as the coaches and parents. We fought hard during the season and had some tough turns and managed to pull together in the end to do the unthinkable, and beat every team, win every game, and walk away with the gold.”

Edwards said the team’s wonderful season involved participating in two parades, including the lighted-truck one in Cloverdale at Christmas and also the “Hometown Hockey” event at Surrey Civic Plaza.

“For our head coach, Paul Bennett, it’s his first turn at being head coach. Our assistant coaches are Christian Len and Rob Lawrence,” she said in March.

Bennett’s Facebook profile indicates he was originally from Bath, Ontario.

In a statement Sunday morning, Cloverdale Minor Hockey Association president Marty Jones said a “beloved member of our Family has been taken from us, a husband, a father, a brother, a friend and a coach.”

Jones’ son played on the Titans team coached by Bennett last season.

“We live life together. We journey, we celebrate, we rally and we grieve. Today is one of those times when we grieve,” Jones wrote in a message posted to the hockey association’s Facebook page.

“Paul Bennett devoted much of the past number of years investing in the lives of the young boys and girls of CMHA.

“To say Paul has touched the lives of many would be an understatement. I am truly grateful as a first-hand witness of this.

“We are heartbroken, but our Family needs each other now, and Paul’s Family needs us.

“In the days ahead we will look to the best way for our community to rally and support the loved ones he left behind. In the meantime, hug your sons, your daughters, those grieving and reflect on how our lives are enriched by his time with us.

“Each of you are in my prayers.”



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

 

Just Posted

128 Flags of Remembrance now flying in Sylvan Lake until Nov. 12

Centennial Park boasts 128 Canadian flags to honour 128,000 Canadians killed and missing in action.

Red Deer is counting down to CFR 45

Jointly hosted by Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce and Westerner Park

Mirror fire department still short volunteers

Fire department will close if volunteers can’t be found

Emazing Bike tour hits Red Deer

Cross-Canada electric bike tour to break world record

Crown may seek dangerous offender status for 2015 Christmas Day stabber

Psychiatric assessment being done of man sentenced In November 2017 to seven years for manslaughter

Live bear cam: Let the fishing begin

Watch bears in Alaska’s Katmai National Park catch their dinner live.

Flyers new mascot ‘Gritty’ a bearded, googly-eyed terror

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Flyers unveiled their new mascot Monday, and as… Continue reading

Tiger Woods winning adds to Ryder Cup buzz

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France — Already the most intense competition in golf, the Ryder… Continue reading

Ex-Sabres captain Brian Gionta retires after 16 NHL seasons

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Brian Gionta has retired after 16 NHL seasons, two… Continue reading

Curling season kicks off after massive shake-up of multiple men’s teams

With so many top Canadian men’s curling teams opening this season with… Continue reading

Canada has removed six out of 900 asylum seekers already facing U.S. deportation

OTTAWA — Newly released figures show Canadian officials have removed only a… Continue reading

Texas prisons often deny dentures to inmates with no teeth

HOUSTON — Inmates without teeth in Texas are routinely denied dentures because… Continue reading

Sex assault charge stayed against one British sailor, trial proceeds for other

HALIFAX — The Crown has stayed a sexual assault charge against a… Continue reading

Most Read