Humboldt Broncos hockey player Ryan Straschnitzki, who was paralyzed following a bus crash that killed 16 people, is wheeled by his father Tom as his mother Michelle, centre, walks beside in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, April 25, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Humboldt player’s parents deal with phoney fundraiser

Fake Twitter account for Humboldt Bronco set up to solicit money through GoFundMe campaign

Tom and Michelle Straschnitzki have seen the best in people over the last three weeks as their son has worked to recover after being paralyzed in a crash between his hockey team’s bus and a transport truck.

On Monday, they also saw the worst.

Tom Straschnitzki said he woke up early and was alerted on Twitter that someone using Ryan’s name had set up a fake account and was seeking money for a GoFundMe campaign.

It had Ryan’s picture, as well as a photo of the Humboldt Broncos Saskatchewan junior hockey team.

“I phoned him and said, ‘Is this your Twitter account?’ And he freaked out and went, ‘No, it’s not. Everyone is going to think this is fake. My teammates are going to hate me thinking I’m trying to get money,’” said Tom Straschnitzki told The Canadian Press.

“It took a long time to calm him down. I said, ‘We’ll take care of it. I kind of warned you this stuff can happen.’”

Straschnitzki alerted a couple of friends who contacted GoFundMe which shut down the campaign. Tweets from the fake account, which had over 1,700 followers, were deleted and the name was changed at least twice by mid-afternoon.

Straschnitzki tweeted a message to the person responsible for his son’s fake account and suggested that he “should meet me at the hospital today. This way he will be closer to emergency.”

He’s most worried about the impact on Ryan.

“Ryan wears everything on his sleeve. He’s kind of a little too trusting but now he knows this could happen,” he said.

“But if you look at the odds out of the millions that are supporting Ryan, that’s just one.”

Michelle Straschnitzki had hoped it wouldn’t happen, but said too often people try to take advantage of a tragedy.

“It reminds you that there are absolute jerks out there,” she said. “In the world that we live in, it’s not surprising. It’s disheartening, but it’s not surprising.”

Ryan, 19, continues to undergo treatment and rehabilitation.

The collision April 6 in rural Saskatchewan is still being investigated. RCMP have only said the transport truck was in the intersection when the crash occurred.

The Broncos were on their way to a playoff game when 16 people were killed and 13 were injured.

The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cooler day helps crews fighting fire on mountainside southwest of Nanaimo

Firefighters making progress, but it’s ‘slow-going,’ says B.C. Wildfire Service

Nanaimo RCMP say increase in cycling opens up potential for more bike thefts

Police advise cyclists register their bikes with 529 Garage

City of Nanaimo to look at turning NDSS field into mid-size stadium

Parks and rec will begin stakeholder engagement and begin work on a phased plan for improvements

Woman arrested near Nanaimo’s Westwood Lake after road rage incidents

37-year-old woman facing charges including assault, assaulting a police officer, impaired driving

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Pandemic isn’t a time for tax increases

City councillors are out of touch with the taxpayers, says letter writer

New ICBC data details Nanaimo intersections with the most crashes

Old Island Highway at Bowen Road and Norwell Drive saw the most crashes in 2019

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Most Read