SASKATOON—Survivors and family members of those who died in the Humboldt Broncos' bus crash soon will be getting cheques of $50,000 after a Saskatchewan judge approved interim payments from a GoFundMe campaign yesterday.
The payments will go to each of the 13 survivors and the families of the 16 people who died after the junior hockey team's bus and a transport truck crashed on April 6.
Scott Thomas, whose son, Evan, played for the Broncos and died in the crash, said the money will help his family move forward with scholarships, as well as hockey and baseball tournaments, in his son's name.
“Evan was a pretty impactful young man and left his mark on a community in a number of different ways,” Thomas said outside Saskatoon court yesterday.
“One of the things that we want to do going forward with a lot of this is just be a little more philanthropic, if you will, with some of the things that come our way,” he noted.
More than $15.2 million was donated to the GoFundMe campaign.
The immediate payouts make up $1.45 million, or 10 percent, of the fund.
Lawyer Jeff Lee, who represents the Humboldt Broncos Memorial Fund Inc., said the cheques will go out “in a matter of days.”
“Evidence reflects that there's been financial hardship on some of the families,” he told court.
Christina Haugan, wife of late coach Darcy Haugan, was in court for the hearing with her two children, Carson and Jackson.
Lyle and Carol Brons, parents of the late athletic therapist Dayna Brons, also were in court.
None of them spoke outside.
The money had yet to be distributed because Saskatchewan has legislation which outlines how court-supervised payouts are to be made.
The court has approved a committee to determine how the rest of the GoFundMe money is distributed.
Lawyers representing some of the victims' families argued in court that the money should not be distributed simply based on expenses incurred.
“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 and Humboldt Strong Community Foundation.
“I believe we have the right people around the table to get it done.”
The committee is scheduled to draft a report over the next few months which eventually will be submitted to a judge for a ruling.
The next court date is Nov. 15.
Thomas said he's too emotionally invested to say how the remaining funds should be distributed.
No amount of money can bring back those who died, he noted.
“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,” Thomas said.
“We're going to trust in the process and there's going to be good people in there that make good decisions,” he added.
“And whatever finds its way to us, we're going to be more than thankful for it.”