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Behind The B: Young Fan Gets Experience of a Lifetime

Six-year-old Frank Pina received quite the surprise on the Bruins' road trip through California

by Caryn Switaj @NHLBruins / BostonBruins.com

BostonBruins.com - The "Behind the B" cameras have captured many special moments since first airing in the Fall of 2013. 

 

Another unforgettable experience was caught on camera during the Bruins' recent road trip that made a swing through California, and stopped in Anaheim, the home of six-year-old Frank Pina.

 

Frank is six years old, and has grown up all Black & Gold, since his father Frank was born in Worcester, Mass. and grew up in Spencer.

His father also converted his mother to the Black & Gold out in California.

 

"I'm a Bruins fan, I've got to be a Bruins fan, so I converted her to a Bruins fan," smiled Frank. "And of course, he has no choice; he's born into it."

 

"It all started with us watching Behind the B. That's how I started liking them, too," said Claudia. "That's the first thing we watched. It wasn't even a game. It was a show. So, we started watching that and then we started coming to games, and that's how [young Frank] became a fan and so did I."

 

Young Frank was born with HLHS (Hypoplastic left heart syndrome), a congenital heart defect which affects normal blood flow through the heart. He has had three open-heart surgeries, with his last one coming in 2015. Frank's now cleared by his doctor and deemed heart healthy.  

 

In addition to his love for the Bruins, the first grader loves to "dance, sing, play sports, and brighten everyone's day."

 

When the Bruins and Jet Blue recently hosted a contest that the father entered, Claudia caught wind, and when her husband's entry won the contest, she decided to keep it a secret - the group combined to make it the surprise of a lifetime for both Franks. 

 

Claudia set up a plan to bring her husband and son to Bruins' hotel in Newport Beach, where the team was staying before facing the Ducks. They often went to the area when young Frank was dealing with his heart condition to help him relax. 

 

When the family arrived at the hotel, the Franks were in for quite a surprise. 

 

"I knew she had something planned for our anniversary - she kind of goes all out when she does plan stuff, so I was like, it's probably something big," said Frank. "So, we went there, and then I saw Tuuk and Chara, and I was like, what? How the heck? At first, I didn't believe it."

 

Tuukka Rask and Zdeno Chara had breakfast with the family before the family got to join the Bruins on their team bus and head over to the Honda Center to take in practice in Anaheim. 

 

 

"I was hungry and I wasn't hungry. It was crazy. I got up and the whole team was right there. I was like, what the heck?" laughed Frank. "It was unbelievable for sure. It's amazing."

 

Not only did young Frank get to eat breakfast with the Bruins, and ride on the team bus, but he also got to check out the locker room, receive an autographed stick from Matt Beleskey, get some on-ice time with Chara, and watch practice from the bench. 

 

 

"We for sure won't forget about this for a long time," said Frank.

 

On top of everything, Jet Blue surprised the family with a trip to Boston to see a game at TD Garden. 

 

"He's so excited," Claudia said of young Frank. "I'm sure he's going to talk about this forever, and he's going to tell everybody when we get home. This is a big deal and I'm so thankful, I truly am."

 

Video: Watch Behind The B: Season 4, Episode 10

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