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

Editorial: timing of legalizing marijuana not right

Opioid crisis needs serious attention first

Becoming a Big Sister with BBBS Quesnel

An Observer reporter writes about her experience becoming a Big Sister through BBBS Quesnel

First Nations take steps to blockade moose hunt

Members of the Tsilhqot’in Nation are making good on their promise

Todd Doherty was recognized today for his life-saving actions during a flight home

Todd Doherty, Member of Parliament for Cariboo-Prince George, was recognized today for… Continue reading

VIDEO: Messages of hope, encouragement line bars of B.C. bridge

WARNING: This story contains references to suicide and may not be appropriate for all audiences.

Nanaimo’s Tilray pot stock continues rising, firm now worth more than $21 billion US

The B.C. company’s shares have risen more than 1,000 % since its initial public offering in July

Fresh-faced Flames fend off Canucks 4-1

Vancouver drops second straight NHL exhibition contest

VIDEO: B.C. deer struggles with life-preserver caught in antlers

Campbell River resident captures entangled deer on camera

Scheer pushes Trudeau to re-start Energy East pipeline talks

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer questioned the Prime Minister over Trans Mountain project

Mistaken identity: Missing dog claimed in Moose Jaw belongs to another family

Brennen Duncan was reunited with a white Kuvasz that was found in Saskatchewan

Abandoned kitten safe and sound thanks to B.C. homeless man

‘Jay’ found little black-and-white kitten in a carrier next to a dumpster by a Chilliwack pet store

Police chief defends controversial marijuana seizure

Advocates said cannabis was part of an opioid-substitution program in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Trans Mountain completes Burrard Inlet spill exercise

Training required, some work continues on pipeline expansion

Most Read