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

Man shot dead in Surrey 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

Community dinner set to honour responders who handled Q.C. explosion

Potluck-style dinner set for Friday, Oct. 5 at the Queen Charlotte Community Hall

Work begins to remove cargo from grounded Haida Gwaii barge and fishing lodge

Westcoast Resorts’ Hippa Lodge broke from its moorings and ran aground early this month

Tlell Farmers’ Market is open every Sunday until Thanksgiving

The Observer mistook the final day for the farmers market – don’t miss the harvest!

Masset dodges empty-ballot bullet

After an extended deadline, Masset now has enough candidates for council

Sunny skies for Terry Fox Run

Queen Charlotte and Masset runs raise nearly $3,000 for cancer research

Canning sockeye by hand in North Coast B.C.

Arnie Nagy teaches the Northern View how to can salmon in Prince Rupert

Nanaimo’s Tilray Inc. briefly the world’s largest cannabis company

The company, only listed in the US, nearly reached $300 in afternoon trading on Wednesday

Woman who helped kidnap Elizabeth Smart released from prison

Smart was 14 years old when she was snatched from her Salt Lake City home in 2002 by street preacher Brian David Mitchell

New York books editor out after backlash over Jian Ghomeshi essay

Ian Buruma, who was appointed as editor of the New York Review of Books in late 2017, no longer works for the publication

B.C. couple plans sustainable, zero-waste life in the Shuswap

Plan includes building a tiny house before the snow flies

Housing slowdown forecast to cool B.C. economy

Conference Board says pipeline, trade uncertainty affecting investment

B.C. hockey product eyes shot at Olympic spot with China

Fletcher is one of 24 who travelled to Shenzhen, China for the first official Olympic dev camp.

Are you feeling lazy? That’s OK – it’s just science

UBC study shows that humans are hardwired to prefer being sloth-like

LETTER: Who do we blame for the tragedy of Marrisa Shen’s death?

The B.C. girl was killed in a Burnaby park last July

Most Read