05/15/2015 11:49 EDT | Updated 05/15/2016 01:12 EDT

Sens say initial response to plea to find live liver donor has been very good

OTTAWA - The Ottawa Senators said Friday there has been a "very good" initial response to their public plea to find a live donor to help team owner Eugene Melnyk, who is in urgent need of a liver transplant.Melnyk, who has been battling health issues for months, was admitted to hospital three weeks ago due to the onset of liver-related complications. His condition is now critical and Senators president Cyril Leeder said anyone considering donation needs to act quickly.In a statement Friday morning, the team said that staff members will continue fielding calls through the afternoon for those interested in becoming live liver donors. Over 1,000 calls have been received so far and numerous applications were sent to the donor transplant team in Toronto.Potential donors can be anyone between the ages of 18-55 in good physical health. First steps include filling out forms followed by a screening process.The transplant team will be reviewing and screening applications Friday and will continue screening through the weekend, the team said.Members of Melnyk's family have undergone extensive testing, but to this point no one has been a match. A living donor transplant is Melnyk's best option due to the fact he has a rare AB blood type.A live donor transplant does not require matching blood types, whereas organ donation after death would require a perfect match. Melnyk has been on the organ donation list, but to this point no match has been found.Melnyk, 55, purchased the Senators in 2003 and holds the titles of governor and chairman as the sole owner of the organization.News of Melnyk's health crisis comes on the heels of the death of assistant coach Mark Reeds on April 14 and general manager Bryan Murray's ongoing battle with colon cancer.———For more information, see the University Health Network's liver donor manual at: