We’re getting a first look at what the Humboldt Broncos did with more than $1 million in donations given in the immediate aftermath of the April 6 bus tragedy.
The money is detailed in the 2017-18 financial statements released by the team online.
It includes a line item called “tragedy support,” which documents the cash and cheques received in the outpouring of support for the team. That money is detailed separately from the usual operational revenues and expenses of the hockey team.
From April 6 to the end of the fiscal year on May 31, just seven short weeks after the crash, over $1.5 million was received in donations to the team. Of that, $167,383 was spent dealing with the aftermath of the tragedy.
These funds were completely separate from the nearly $15 million raised through the GoFundMe page to support the families of victims. That money is being administered through the courts.
But the exact details of where the money went and to whom is still unclear, it’s listed only in subcategories.
$73,709 on travel
$59,618 on marketing
$27,047 on legal
$5,316 on meals
$1,559 on office
$134 service charges
The remaining money totalled over $1.4 million and became known as the community foundation.
In the days after the crash, the Broncos worked with Takt Communications, a marketing and communications firm based out of Regina. While staff at Takt worked heavily on the Broncos file, it also subcontracted work to two other individuals.
“There was additional travel expenses, legal fees and communication fees for services that were needed from outside of the organization to help us get through the first few months immediately following the tragedy that we normally wouldn’t have required,” Jamie Brockman, President of the Humboldt Broncos hockey club, said in an emailed statement.
Neither the Broncos nor Takt Communications would break down in detail how the money in each subcategory was spent.
But in an emailed statement, Grant Bastedo, the principal owner of Takt, portrayed it as a massive undertaking for all involved.
“Takt Communications is proud to have worked closely with the Humboldt Broncos and the affected families for the six months following the tragedy. The Broncos had extensive and immediate needs – we assisted by providing crisis communications, media relations, website development, and numerous other tasks to help get them back on their feet,” Bastedo wrote.
“Managing the global media attention and intense public scrutiny was an immense challenge for our small team and took innumerable hours of effort. We were very pleased to assist because the tragedy hit close to home for us. Knowing the Broncos are a not-for-profit, we provided many services free of charge and the remainder at deeply discounted rates. We are honoured to have played an integral role in the Broncos returning to the ice.”
The Humboldt Broncos say no contract existed with Takt but work was done and billed as needed on a month-to-month basis.
That arrangement ended in September 2018.
All involved are now looking to the future as the Broncos and those grieving from the crash continue to move forward.
“Now that things have slowed down somewhat, we are able to move forward with our ‘new normal’, and we are once again self-sufficient We have the manpower internally to carry out our day-to-day business as a hockey club and some of the contracts for services with outside agencies are no longer needed,” said Brockman.
Any further donations and expenses related to the crash will be detailed in the 2018-19 financial statement released next year.