Woman behind Humboldt Broncos GoFundMe page wants money split evenly
The woman who started a GoFundMe campaign for the Humboldt Broncos wants the money to be evenly shared among the families affected.
In just under two weeks, the Humboldt Broncos GoFundMe page raised $15.1 million — the largest crowdfunding drive in Canada.
“To make it simple and to get the money out ASAP, I would split the money evenly between the 29 families,” Sylvie Kellington, a Humboldt woman who started the GoFundMe page, said.
A Saskatoon judge on Wednesday granted $50,000 interim payments to the 13 survivors and 16 families involved in the fatal April crash.
The following committee will decide how the rest of the donations will be spent:
- Hayley Wickenheiser, Olympic hockey gold medalist
- Dennis Ball, a retired Saskatchewan judge
- Dr. Peter Spafford, a surgeon
- Mark Chipman, chairman of the company that owns the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets
- Kevin Cameron, expert in traumatic stress
The committee will make recommendations based on evidence from expenses and family consultation.
The money has yet to be distributed because Saskatchewan has legislation which requires court-supervision for payouts. All lawyers on the matter are working for free.
Kellington said she was unaware of the province’s crowdfunding rules when she started the page.
“I’m surprised at how long this process has taken and a little disappointed at the complexity of it. But at the end of the day, I trust that all the money will go to its intended purpose,” Kellington told CTV News.
No matter how the committee allocates the money, there could be criticism.
"I think the advisory committee could very well face criticism as a result of some of the things that they put forward or what their end result is," said Darrin Duell, president of the Humboldt Broncos Memorial Fund Inc., which was set up to manage the GoFundMe money.
Over the next few months, the committee is to draft a report on how the rest of the funds will be allocated. It will eventually be submitted to a judge for a ruling, scheduled for Nov. 15.
Families speak out about the GoFundMe page
On Wednesday, court heard about the costs families have incurred since the deadly crash – from medical treatments to funeral expenses.
A lawyer representing the family of Adam Herold, the youngest player who died, said expenses shouldn’t be the only deciding factor in where the money goes.
"My clients in particular are farmers ... but they're finding it very difficult to operate the farm without their son," Kevin Mellor said.
In May, Tom Straschnitzki, whose son Ryan was paralyzed from the chest down said he wanted the cash to be evenly shared.
"I just say divide it, but that's just me," Straschnitzki said. "That's my opinion."
The father of Evan Thomas, an 18-year-old player who was killed in the crash, said he plans to use the donations for scholarships and tournaments in his son’s name.
“But there’s no amount of money that could bring our loved ones back,” Scott Thomas said outside court.
"Whatever happens at the end, we've said right from the start that we're going to consider it a gift, and we're going to be so thankful for anything that comes of this."