Wexford native Andrew Gaus close to home for Penguins developmental camp |

Wexford native Andrew Gaus close to home for Penguins developmental camp

Chris Adamski
Yale's Andrew Gaus (11), a Wexford native, skates with the puck ahead of Arizona State's Jordan Masters during the second period of an NCAA college hockey game at the Desert Hockey Classic tournament, Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. Yale defeated Arizona State 4-0.

Among the 38 players taking part in the Penguins developmental camp this week were young men from as far away as Latvia, Sweden, Finland, Slovenia — and even North Dakota.

And while Pittsburgh International Airport figures to be busy Saturday boarding all of these young hockey players onto planes that might require 3-4 connections to get them back home, one of the camp attendees practically could walk back to the house he grew up in.

“My family lived five minutes down the road from here,” Andrew Gaus said proudly after a practice session Thursday. “I was born and raised in Pittsburgh. My dad put me on the ice when I was 21⁄2 years old; I was pushing a chair over at Bladerunners Warrendale.”

This week, Gaus was a short (if traffic-filled) drive from there up Route 19 at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry. A Wexford native who’s entering his senior year at Yale, Gaus was at the Penguins development camp as a tryout.

A 6-foot, 185-pound right wing, Gaus was the only camp attendee born and raised in the Pittsburgh area. He’s come home for each of the three summers since he began college — even though his immediate family moved to Florida last year. Gaus is staying at the Hampton Township home of his grandfather.

“I have been training upstairs (in the Lemieux Complex) for three years now, so to be on the other side of it in (the Penguins’) locker room is a really a cool experience,” said Gaus, who played for the Junior Penguins and Pittsburgh Hornets programs growing up. “A cool opportunity for a Pittsburgh kid to come to this camp.

“I come back here every summer just because the facility is so amazing that I want to take advantage of it. And we don’t have a ton of ice up (near Yale), so we can’t really stay up there. But I love the city, love Pittsburgh and I’ve got a lot of friends here, so I am pretty excited to come back here in the summers. When I got the opportunity to come to this camp, it was a no- brainer.”

Coming off a season in which he had the overtime goal to end a first-round ECAC playoff series at home against Dartmouth, any high expectations Gaus had for 2017-18 quickly were dampened when he suffered a shoulder injury that required surgery and limited him to four games.

With a six-month recovery period, the development camp was Gaus’ first “live” hockey practice since November. Friday evening’s scrimmage was his first game action since then.

Gaus’ training partners at the Lemieux complex over recent summers include a who’s who of Pittsburgh-area natives playing in the NHL: the Tampa Bay Lightning’s J.T. Miller, the Chiago Blackhawks’ Brandon Saad, the Florida Panthers’ Vincent Trocheck and the Anaheim Ducks’ John Gibson among them.

“We have a lot of good players from this area,” Gaus said, “so it was nice to build a little bit of a relationship with those guys. This is just such an amazing facility. We’re pretty lucky. And it will help in developing even more guys for the future.”

Gaus is hoping professional hockey is in his future. But not, of course, before he graduates with a Yale degree in political science. A former assistant captain for the United States Hockey League’s Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, Gaus has his sights set on leading Yale to an NCAA championship.

The season after he committed, the Bulldogs won the national title. The Frozen Four that year (2013) was in Pittsburgh. Gaus was in attendance at what then was known as Consol Energy Center.

It was a short drive from his Wexford home — but not as short as his commute this week.

“You look at that stuff, for sure,” Penguins development coach Jarrod Skalde said of having a local at camp. “It’s the not the bottom line, but it’s always nice to have someone local or from the area, so it’s great. It’s always a good thing to have somebody like that.”

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.