Artist on ice

About two minutes into the game, a player from the opposing team shot the puck toward the net. The goal tender dove in to block the shot, but the puck slid under her stick. It was a fluke goal and Lisa Canorro’s team was now down by one.

It was disheartening, but  St. Catherine’s Ontario  had to bounce back. They had already played two games against the hometown team, so St. Catherine’s was sweating through their white jerseys in the final game of the tournament.

Canorro knew she needed keep her head in the game; she had to keep to the time and keep her defense position strong.  

“Well after you play that hard, that many games, if you lose the final game it’s quite a downer,” said Canorro. “It’s a long ride home if you lose and it’s a short ride if you win from all the excitement.”

After regaining strength from the first goal, Canorro’s team was able to pull  into the lead.

“When the game is two to one, then it’s anyone’s game, and it was a relief when we got the third goal because it was like a cushion,” said Canorro.

Even with the victory at hand, it was important for her team to beat out the clock. As a defense-man the pressure was on.

“I told myself, ‘Don’t think about the win, continue to play a strong defense and keep your head in the game,’” said Canorro. “I was one of the player that would throw myself in front of the puck and I blocked the puck.”

Her team took home the victory, with the final score of three to one.

“Oh, I don’t know if our goal tender could breathe because she was at the bottom of the pile,” she said. “When you win a hockey game everybody jumps in a heap. You celebrate, jump on each other, then shake other teams hands.”

Canorro looks back fondly on the Ontario Provincials Tournament that pitted her St. Catherine’s Ontario, a local team in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, against other teams from the region. In two days, they played six games and made it to the finals despite losing their first game.

“I lived up north, so hockey was in my blood,” she said. “To me it’s the hardest of all sports since it’s more than just running and stick handling, it was doing all of that on two skinny blades.”

Even though approximately 18 years of her life was spent on the ice, it was hard for Canorro to consider a career in hockey; at the time, women’s hockey was not considered a professional sport. Instead she pursued her other passion: art.

This is her 15th year teaching art: two years at the Alief Learning Center and the last 13 at  Kerr. She says that throughout her own high school years, art was the class that interested her the most. 

Canorro teaches everything from Art I to AP 2D portfolio and coaches art students for a variety of competitions, including Culture Shapers, the Visual Arts Scholastic Event and Advanced Placement. She is encouraged every day by seeing her students express their emotions through art. 

“I feel that Kerr and ALC are the same, because each student has a different talent and there are the ones that stand out, but they are all the same: they need love and encouragement,” said Canorro. “The students are the biggest benefit; they are wonderful to be around, they are always excited, eager to learn and well-mannered. It’s my biggest joy in teaching.”

Since her days of playing hockey, she has shared the lessons in determination and focus she learned on the ice in areas outside the art classroom as well: she has coached minor league boys’ hockey teams and helped disabled children learn how to skate and enjoy the feel of gliding on the ice.

As for hockey, there is always a limit to how long athletes can continue to play such a strenuous game. Canorro says that while she is not physically in the same shape, that doesn’t keep her away from the ice.

“Usually NAHS goes skating,” she said, “so I join them, and once in a while I do public skating.”

But her memories of competition remain strong.

“I wish we had a hockey team here,” she said. “I always wanted to teach and coach at the same time.”