Funds to start being distributed to families of Humboldt Broncos
Money raised in a GoFundMe campaign after the Humboldt Broncos bus crash will go directly to survivors and families of those killed, but a fee of nearly $500,000 is being deducted by the online fundraising site from just over $15 million in donations.
Broncos president Kevin Garinger says Saskatchewan has legislation to deal with the administration of any funds raised through a public appeal.
"The GoFundMe campaign raised $15.175 million, approximately," Garinger told a news conference Thursday. "After the deduction of fees charged by GoFundMe, the net amount the memorial fund anticipates receiving from the donated monies is ... right around $14.7 million."
GoFundMe said it charges a platform fee, which is 2.9 per cent plus 30 cents per donation, for payment processing fees that cover charges from third-party card processors and the secure transfer of funds.
Once the money is transferred to the team, Garinger said it will be held in trust until the legal process is complete.
"One hundred per cent of that total, as well as any interest ... will go toward the 29 families that have been impacted by this unthinkable tragedy."
Sixteen people -- including 10 players -- were killed and another 13 players were injured April 6 when the junior hockey team's bus and a semi collided at a rural Saskatchewan intersection.
Scott Thomas, who lost his son Evan in the crash, said he and the other families are confident the Broncos will handle the money appropriately.
"Right from the beginning, the Humboldt Broncos have been there for us," he said. "We are all very secure and comfortable with the process that this is going through."
The Straschnitzki family, whose son Ryan was paralyzed in the crash, has previously said the money should be split evenly among the 29 families.
Thomas said he and many other families haven't spent any time thinking about how the money gets divvied up.
"Maybe it is that simple that they cut 29 even cheques and we all go our separate ways, but it can't be that simple," he said. "It just can't be, because there's two boys laying in a hospital bed right now with brain injuries that maybe need a little bit more money. There's two paralyzed boys that maybe need a little more money.
"(Coach) Darcy Haugan's boys maybe need a little more money. The boys that walked through that carnage will probably have PTSD for the rest of their lives. Maybe they need a little more money."
Thomas said others have raised concerns that some of the families could need financial help immediately, but he said they have been well-supported by Hockey Canada, a recent fundraising concert and others.
"If there are people out there that are concerned that this has taken a long time, this is only six weeks," said Thomas, who added he only picked up his son's ashes on Wednesday and put them into 10 little urns for his family and friends. "This is the stuff our families are dealing with right now.
"We're patient, we're secure and we're confident and we support the Broncos and everything that they're doing."
The Broncos said the legal process has started and a Court of Queen's Bench justice is to be appointed. It will be overseen by a volunteer board of directors, with assistance from lawyers who are also providing their services free of charge.
The process is expected to take up to three months, said Garinger.