Ottawa Senators assistant coach Bob Jones has been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the team announced on Tuesday.
In making the news public, Jones is hoping to raise awareness for the disease and has asked the hockey community to consider donations to both the ALS Society of Canada and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
The 53-year-old will not step away from the Senators at this time and will continue to serve in his role on the Ottawa bench.
"A devoted member of our family, Bob Jones, has been diagnosed with ALS," said Senators general manager Pierre Dorion in a press release. "Bob and his family's wishes are to take the courageous step of making his condition public in an effort to drive ALS awareness as he fights this disease.
"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."
Per the Mayo Clinic, "ALS is a progressive nervous system disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing loss of muscle control. It is often called Lou Gehrig's disease, after the baseball player who was diagnosed with it. Doctors usually don't know why ALS occurs. Some cases are inherited. ALS often begins with muscle twitching and weakness in a limb, or slurred speech. Eventually, it affects control of the muscles needed to move, speak, eat and breathe. There is no cure for this fatal disease."
Jones is currently in his fourth season as an assistant with the Senators after being hired to D.J. Smith's staff in 2019. Prior to joining the Senators, Jones enjoyed a decorated 20-year coaching career in the OHL and also served as an assistant for the AHL's Texas Stars.
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