A member of the Ottawa Senators' coaching staff has been diagnosed with a debilitating condition. The team issued a news release Monday to say that associate coach Bob Jones has been diagnosed with ALS.
"We have been working internally with Bob and his family as he takes on this challenge; while Bob will continue with his coaching duties, he has the full support of the organization to take any time he needs away from the club during the season to concentrate on his health and his family," said Ottawa GM Pierre Dorion.
The release states Jones decided to share his diagnosis in order to raise awareness of ALS. The family has asked that those considering contributions consider both the ALS Society of Canada and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
"The Senators family stands united by Bob's side and the organization is asking the entire hockey community for its encouragement, prayers and support," said the release.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, is a progressive nervous system disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing loss of muscle control. ALS is often called Lou Gehrig's disease, after the baseball player who was diagnosed with it. The disease makes the nerve cells stop working and die. The nerves lose the ability to trigger specific muscles, which causes the muscles to become weak and leads to paralysis.
Jones, 53, is in his fourth season with the Sens. He has 20 years of coaching experience in the OHL and AHL.