STANSTEAD, Quebec (AP) -A thin and frail Pat Burns said he's honored to have an arena named after him, even as he conceded he likely won't live to see it completed.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper attended an announcement Friday that the Pat Burns Arena will be built in Stanstead, a town near the Quebec-Vermont border. The former NHL coach, his voice left raspy by the cancer attacking his lungs, flew up from his home in Florida for the ceremony.
Burns was forced to leave coaching in 2004 because colon cancer. When he was diagnosed with lung cancer last year, he opted against treatment.
"I know my life is nearing the end and I accept that," he told a few dozen invited guests at Stanstead College. "I probably won't be here when (the arena) is finished, but I'll be looking down on it."
Harper pointed to the three Jack Adams trophies Burns won with three different teams - Montreal, Toronto and Boston - as evidence that "he had the ability to go to any organization and get the best out of that organization."
Burns also won a Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils in 2003. He earned 501 career wins from 1988 to 2004.
Also on hand were Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello and former NHL players Felix Potvin and Marc Bureau, as well as Burns' cousin and agent Robin Burns and former NHL coach Michel Bergeron.
The $8.4-million project is slated for completion in 2011.