The more than $15 million raised in a GoFundMe campaign for the Humboldt Broncos will be split among the 29 families affected, the team announced in a news conference in Regina, Saskatchewan, on Thursday.
Under Saskatchewan law, the Broncos Memorial Fund must follow a process that includes the appointment of a supervising judge, submitting a proposed court order and a timeline for distribution. Saskatchewan is the only province in Canada which has such a legislative process.
GoFundMe is deducting a $400,000 fee from the money raised.
On April 6, the Broncos — a junior hockey team of 16- to 21-year-olds — were on a bus en route to a playoff game when they collided with a truck carrying peat moss. Sixteen people — including 10 players and the team’s head coach — were killed and another 13 players were injured.
“Our focus, as I’ve said since day one, continues to be on supporting our families,” Broncos president Kevin Garinger said Thursday.
Scott Thomas, whose son Evan, died in the crash, also spoke at the news conference. Thomas said the families communicate regularly through a group texting chat and that no one has raised any concerns about how the Broncos are handling the GoFundMe dollars.
“My first reaction is that I have no expectation,” Thomas said Thursday. “Through this whole process we don’t expect anything. Everything that we’re given here is a gift. People have reached out in so many ways. … None of that is expected.”
The GoFundMe campaign closed after more 140,000 people donated from more than 80 countries in less than two weeks. It is the second-largest GoFundMe campaign globally, trailing only the $21.5 million raised for the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund.
The Broncos announced last week they would field a team for the 2018-19 season and would begin their search for a new coach and general manager. Darcy Haugan, who was killed in the crash, served in both of those roles. The team will hold an invite-only tryout of 80 players later in May in Saskatchewan.
An investigation into the crash is ongoing. On April 19, the Saskatchewan Royal Canadian Mounted Police offered an update and said “significant resources are being” used to investigate the crash, though there is no timeline for its completion. The RCMP said the truck driver has been cooperating with authorities, but it is unclear if he blew past a stop sign or why he was in the middle of the intersection.