There is rarely a more important person at the arena in Haliburton and Minden on Highland Storm game days than Diane Peacock.

The long-time timekeeper for youth hockey in Haliburton County recently celebrated a special milestone, having helped officiate her 150th game of the season. No matter the weather, or circumstance, when the puck has dropped at Highland Storm games this season, Peacock has usually been the one there manning the clock and ensuring results, and all game details, are uploaded to the Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA).

Now into her 11th season, Peacock said timekeeping has become a real passion – a job she takes seriously at least five days per week.

“I just love working with the kids, I love watching the kids play. I love seeing them grow up – I’ve been doing this a long time now. The kids I started out watching at seven years of age are all playing U18 this year. I’ve had the privilege of watching them develop through the system,” Peacock said.

“You do get to know everyone – my last U18 local league game, the kids were all playing really hard and there were a lot of penalties. One of the kids in the box told me, ‘we’ll try to be good for you the rest of the night,’ but you always take things like that with a pinch of salt!” she added.

Starting out during the 2013/14 season, Peacock served as the main timekeeper in Minden. It was a baptism of fire, she recalls, learning the ropes during a particularly rough U15 game. Back then, everything was recorded using pen and paper – a far cry from today’s “digital age,” where everything is uploaded to an iPad.

Peacock says she learned everything she knows from Eric Nicholls, who put in 40 years timekeeping in Haliburton, before retiring last year.

“Eric really was my mentor. I’ve sure missed him this year,” she said.

Peacock is the only senior timekeeper in the County – she added a young apprentice this season, Jacob Lloyd, which has allowed her to take some time to herself. Ideally, she said each arena, in Haliburton and Minden, would have two timekeepers that could rotate and more evenly share games.

Prior to this year, she said the highest number of games she’s worked was between 90 and 95 – “definitely less than 100. This year, I just had to hunker down because if I didn’t get out to do it, the games couldn’t happen,” she said.

She was recognized for timekeeping her 150th game on Feb. 27, an U18 match-up in Minden. This weekend, she expects to be back inside her office for her 160th, and final, game of the season – U8 playoffs.

Peacock broke down how things generally go on game days. She’ll arrive at the rink 45 minutes prior to puck drop – will get her iPad, pen and paper, and heater ready in the timekeeper’s area, visit both the home and visiting coaches so they can input their lines into the system, then touch base with the officials before getting settled.

Then, after the opening whistle, she gets to work. Peacock said she must be eagle-eyed, watching the officials to be sure of any calls so she can input them into the system, and display any penalties on the scoreboard. It’s important, she said, to know all the signs for penalties and goals.

Post-game, she again touches base with the referees, who must sign off on game sheets before they can be uploaded to the OMHA system. Peacock said she’s typically the last one out of the arena.

“If I’m just doing the one game, I’ll be at the rink for just over three hours. Double headers, I can be around from 6 p.m. until just before midnight,” she said.

Tournaments, such as the Minden Silver Stick or Bernie Nicholls tournament, are full-day commitments. Peacock said she’ll usually spend 12 hours at the rink, assisting with up to 15 games.

She remembers getting involved after hearing Minden was short on timekeepers while watching her neighbour’s kids, Matt and Ryan Manning, play. One of her standout memories from the past 11 years was watching Matt lift a provincial U18 championship in 2018.

Another was having the honour of participating in a ceremonial puck drop in the first ever game at S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena on Oct. 1, 2021.

“Lots of great memories, lots of emotions,” she said, choking up.

While she isn’t planning on stepping away anytime soon, Peacock said she’s focused on finding some new blood to help ahead of next season. She noted timekeeping is a paid position in both Haliburton and Minden, with plenty of other perks.

“The kids, the coaches, the referees, they all become part of your extended family. I’ve made some wonderful connections doing this – I’ve loved every single minute of it,” Peacock said.

Anyone interested in becoming a timekeeper can contact Peacock at