By Lisa Gresci

SUDBURY (CBS) — They are sounds you wouldn’t expect to be coming from a quiet Sudbury neighborhood backyard: Skates going back and forth on fresh ice, and hockey pucks shooting into nets.

For the Bongiorno family, they’re saying “good morning” to a whole lot more this winter.

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“It was all morning, ‘Papa, can we skate? Papa, can we skate?’”

Rachel Bongiorno woke up to these questions for months.

“When it wasn’t done. . . I was like, ‘is it done yet?’ It was so hard to wait but it’s done now,” Nicolas Bongiorno said.

Skating on the rink in Sudbury (WBZ-TV)

Seven-year-old Nicolas loves hockey and now he’s skating his heart out with his younger sister Amelia, without leaving their backyard.

“His eyes were like huge saucers. We can skate! We can skate!” Rachel Bongiorno said about the moment the rink was ready.

It’s all thanks to his papa, Tony.

“I watched him build it and he made this bench yesterday,” Nicolas said.

The navy veteran who built the entire rink, down to the scoreboard, with his own two hands.

The homemade scoreboard (WBZ-TV)

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“It was more hours than I anticipated putting into it. . . a little heavier work than I had thought but it was a lot of fun,” Tony Costa said.

The larger-than-life project took nearly three months and about 17,000 gallons of water.

“He was out here by himself every day dragging pallets and boards just to see it all finally fall into place. It was a feeling I’ve never had,” Rachel Bongiorno said about her father’s efforts.

Simply a labor of love coming at a time none of us can really explain.

“It’s sad when we should be teaching them to socialize we are teaching them to social distance,” Costa said.

Costa says he did it after realizing it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility that ice rinks would close again because of the coronavirus.

Even though it wasn’t easy, he says the result makes it all worth it. Seeing his grandkids so happy has become a gift for the whole family.

Tony Costa build the ice rink by hand (Photo credit: The Bongiorno Family)

“To see them happy and to see them sort of free and just kids again,” Rachel Bongiorno said.

“I didn’t say thank you. I said a thousand thank yous!’ Nicolas said.

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Despite a couple of warmer days in the forecast, the family does have one last Christmas wish. That, weather permitting, the rink will stay up and running through the season.

Lisa Gresci