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Tampa Bay Lightning scout Josh Dye shares his day with iconic trophy with his hometown hockey fans.

COURTESY PHOTO: JOSH DYE - Portland native Josh Dye, a scout for the Tampa Bay Lightning, poses with the Stanley Cup from near Pittock Mansion on Monday, July 26.Tourists and others visiting Pittock Mansion on Monday, July 26, to see a bit of Portland history could not have expected to cross paths with Lord Stanley's gift to hockey.

Some of the visitors did a double-take as Josh Dye and ice hockey's famous Stanley Cup swung by the mansion for a photo opportunity.

A scout for the NHL champion Tampa Bay Lightning, the Portland native shared his day with the trophy with family, friends and as many hockey fans as possible. Even without a National Hockey League club, Portland has a strong hockey tradition, one that helped Dye experience the pinicle of the sport.

Dye will be joined in the NHL next season by fellow Portland-area natives Kyle Gustafson and Matt Bardsley. Gustafson, a Centennial High grad, recently was hired as an assistant coach for the Vancouver Canucks. Bardsley, a Wilson High grad, recently was hired as an amateur scout by the Philadelphia Flyers.

Among the stops Dye and the Stanley Cup made on July 26 were a midday event for youth hockey players at Winterhawks Skating Center in Beaverton and a late-afternoon stop at Veterans Memorial Coliseum, where the public was able to view the trophy up close and take photographs.

"It was cool to see the people's reactions when they saw the Cup," Dye said.

In a tradition that started with the 1994 New York Rangers, every member of the organization that wins the Stanley Cup gets a day with the trophy. Dye now lives in Minnesota, grew up in Portland and got his start in hockey at age 12 in the Portland Amateur Hockey Association. So, sharing his day with the Stanley Cup with the Portland hockey community was an easy decision.

"It was cool to see the people's reactions when they saw the Cup," Dye said.

PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Konrad Lasota and his son Kaden check out the Stanley Cup on Monday, July 26 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.In a tradition that started with the 1994 New York Rangers, every member of the organization that wins the Stanley Cup gets a day with the trophy. Dye now lives in Minnesota, but is a Portland native who got his start in hockey at age 12 in the Portland Amateur Hockey Association. So, sharing his day with the Stanley Cup with the Portland hockey community was an easy decision.

"That was very important, for the people here, the fans to get to see it," Dye said.

It also was a chance for Dye to repay the Winterhawks for giving him a chance to become a part-time scout back in 2006, and to thank VP/GM/coach Mike Johnston for sticking with Dye following the ownership change that led to Johnston's arrival in 2008.

When he played for Cleveland High in Oregon's high school hockey league, then with the Portland Junior Bucks, a Junior C-level team, Dye did not seriously dream of a hockey career.

In 2006, he was moving to Minnesota and was hired by longtime general manager Ken Hodge and then head scout Gord Loiselle to scout Midwest youth hockey. Dye said it was that opportunity that made Monday's celebration possible.

Dye's timing was certainly good when he joined the Lightning after working for the Winterhawks in two stints encompassing eight seasons. He's been with the NHL club for two seasons — both of them ending in championships.

The Stanley Cup has been to Portland before. Tom McVie brought the trophy to Portland-Vancouver after the Boston Bruins' 2011 championship. A former player for the Portland Buckaroos, McVie is still a scout for Boston.

PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Hockey fans got an up-close look at the Stanley Cup on Monday, July 26. Tampa Bay Lightning scout and Portland native Josh Dye brought the iconic trophy to town.Dye was at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida on July 7 when the Lightning closed out the Montreal Canadiens for their second title in a row. He said it was special to watch people who had worked for more than two decades with the club celebrate the championship, and to see the emotion from the players who won it.

"It's all about the players and the work they put in," Dye said.

Dye's job is to identify and evaluate future talent, tracking players in college hockey and developmental leagues such as the USHL and NAHL. He is one of three U.S.-based amateur scouts for Tampa Bay.

Dye said he was thankful that he could visit rinks regularly last season, despite COVID-19. Minnesota high school hockey, as well as the USHL and NAHL, played the 2020-21 season, giving Dye the chance to watch live hockey.

He did, however, miss out on a day with the Cup following the Lightning's 2020 title because of the pandemic.

The day after this season's clinching win, Tampa Bay general manager Julien BriseBois handed out 2020 championship rings to the staff and announced that each of them would get to spend one day this summer with the trophy. Dye learned his turn was coming less than a week before the Stanley Cup arrived in Portland.

PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Young fans wait anxiously outside Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Monday, July 26 to see the Stanley Cup.Dye said the most rewarding part of his day was watching the reaction from fans, some of them powerful. He saw a young woman break into tears at the sight of the trophy. At Pittock Mansion, one of the tourists was from Tampa and, Dye said, was clearly stunned to see the Stanley Cup.

Dye, who landed the job with Tampa Bay just in time to experience consecutive championships, can appreciate the excitement of being in the right place at the right time.

"You can't believe how guilty I feel" about getting a day with the trophy before some of the players or coach John Cooper.

"I've really been the beneficiary of what other people have built," Dye said.

Any guilt didn't dampen the excitement and enjoyment of a memorable day he described as "unbelievable."

Tooling around town with such an iconic piece of sports history, disbelief was a common reaction.

"It doesn't matter where you go with the Stanley Cup … everybody turns their head when they see it," Dye said.


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