The following statement regarding Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk was posted to the team's official Web site Thursday.
OTTAWA – This past season our fans witnessed the remarkable and historic rally of their Ottawa Senators to overcome the largest regular-season point deficit in National Hockey League history to successfully qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
During this spectacular comeback many of our fans noticed the unusual absence of the Senators' number one fan and team owner, Eugene Melnyk.
Mr. Melnyk has consistently remained very private on matters of a personal or family nature.
Today, the club wishes to share with the hockey community and our fans that Mr. Melnyk has been sick and battling major health issues since mid-January. Since then, his medical care and treatment have been the sole focus for him and his family.
Mr. Melnyk was admitted to hospital three weeks ago as a result of the onset of liver-related complications. He has undergone a comprehensive medical assessment and it has been determined that Mr. Melnyk is in urgent need of a liver transplant.
Mr. Melnyk's family has actively reached out to his close friends and broader family with the hope of identifying someone who could be a "live liver donor". This process involves the removal of a portion of the living donor's liver so it can be transplanted into the recipient patient.
"The liver is a highly resilient organ that can regenerate itself within 90-120 days and return back to its normal size," said Dr. Atul Humar, the Medical Director of the University Health Network's Multi-Organ Transplant Program. "Any healthy adult between the ages of 18-55 years could be a potential live liver donor. To date, over 600 live liver donor transplants have been performed at the University Health Network. All donors have returned to normal lives with no restrictions."
The Melnyk family's efforts have yielded a number of potential donor candidates who have been extensively tested. These efforts continue in earnest but have so far not yielded a suitable donor.
The Melnyk family is extremely grateful to the world-class liver transplant teams at Toronto General Hospital who are assisting with Mr. Melnyk's ongoing care and medical treatment.
The Senators organization and the Melnyk family are looking for any members of the public who may be interested in being a live liver donor. For more information on being a living liver donor you can access the University Health Network's Liver Donor Manual at: http://www.uhn.ca/MOT/PatientsFamilies/Clinics_Tests/Documents/LivingDonor_LiverDonorManual.pdf
For anyone interested in being tested to determine if they would be a suitable donor the following form needs to be completed: http://www.uhn.ca/MOT/PatientsFamilies/Clinics_Tests/Documents/MOT_PF_CC_LivingDonor_DonorHealthHistoryForm.pdf
The completed form can then be faxed to Toronto General Hospital's Living Donor Assessment Office at 416-340-4317.
For those persons that have inquiries regarding being a donor, the Senators will have staff available to answer calls at 613-599-0100 until 9 p.m. this evening and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, May 15.
If any persons are having difficulty with faxing the completed medical forms to the hospital, the Senators will be happy to help aid in this process. For support in having the forms sent to the hospital, please call 613-599-0100. For further information, including frequently asked questions on being a live liver donor, please visit www.ottawasenators.com.
The club is asking the Senators extended family and everyone in the hockey community to keep Senators owner Eugene Melnyk in their thoughts and prayers.