Ranney School sixth-grader Derek Vastola (Colts Neck) turned his dreams into a reality this past August after he was selected to Bauer’s USA Hockey Team and won the gold cup in the 2002 birth year division at the World Hockey Invite in Prague, Czech Republic. Bauer selected 15 players from across the United States, including Missouri, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Maryland, Colorado, Indiana, Illinois, as well as U.S. citizens residing in Hong Kong and Vancouver, and of course, New Jersey. The hockey equipment manufacturer chose players who would positively represent the United States and who had the comprehensive skills to compete against tough teams from other countries.
Before defeating Latvia 6-1 in the finals, the USA team beat Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Derek was named the top goalie in the tournament, giving up the least amount of goals overall. Despite this great accomplishment, Derek credits his teammates, saying, “A goalie is only as good as the team he has in front of him.” Throughout the year, Derek plays for a number of local teams including the Red Bank Generals, ISS Kings and NJ Raiders.
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