LANGLEY (NEWS 1130) – Dressed in hockey jerseys, more than 300 people gathered in Langley for Paul Bennett’s celebration of life ceremony on Friday.
The father of two was killed in a case of mistaken identity outside of his Surrey home last month.
Mike McKay, a family friend who coached alongside Bennett, says the jerseys marked his love of the sport.
“I mean Paul was huge in hockey, even played hockey as a kid. So I think as he got older he wanted to play. As his wife says, we’re not sure how many teams he played on. So hockey was essential to him.”
He says the pair coached minor league hockey for four years, even teaching their own children on the ice this past year.
It was an emotional service filled with tears as people shared memories and stories about their friend and mentor.
Bennett’s sister Jackie says she’s angry and sad at the same time.
“I love my brother, all of Paul,” she said through tears. “He was stolen from us, taken without our ability to prepare, and his loss is a huge blackness in our lives.”
She describes her brother as someone who was loud and proud, someone who entered any room with confidence. Jackie adds Bennett was a wonderful father and a great uncle to her own daughter.
“I wanted to speak because looking in this room, I realize Paul was loved. This community, all of you.”
McKay agrees that Bennett’s death has had a big impact on the lives of his friends and family.
“I think it’s just going to leave a huge hole in everything that he touched. So everything he touched, there’s that part missing. I think one of the guys said it today; he was 50 per cent of what the atmosphere was in the dressing room. I think everybody in the room is going to feel the same way.”
Along with sadness, McKay says many are also expressing anger over Bennett’s senseless death. McKay says he knew his friend — who was also a registered nurse — was innocent of any wrongdoing and adds that makes dealing with his death more difficult.
“When it came out it was ‘yes, about time it comes out,’ because I think everybody in the room today knew that there was no way he was the target,” McKay explains. “And now I think it’s turned to anger as to how can someone like Paul have this happen to him, it means it could happen to any of us.”
Bennett was shot to death in front of his Surrey home in the area of 182A Street and 67A Avenue on June 23rd. On Thursday, investigators confirmed this was a case of mistaken identity.”
A newer model silver 4-door Honda Civic was caught on surveillance video leaving the area shortly after the shooting. Both police and Bennett’s family have made a public appeal for more information, to help find who is responsible for his killing.