From Milton, Ontario, Sproule was a competitive cyclist and played amateur hockey in his home town before moving to Toronto where he played for Toronto Old Orchard and the Toronto Rowing Club hockey teams. He then became involved in team management as coach and manager of the Toronto Victorias and Toronto Crescents.
For many years, Sproule was a referee in the Ontario Hockey Association. He was the referee for one of the wildest games in league history in when spectators in Collingwood, Ontario rioted, came onto the ice and attacked Sproule. Sproule was also a sports journalist, writing for the Toronto Star and other publications, usually about horse racing. Partnered with Paul Ciceri, Sproule owned the Coronado racing stable.
In 1919, Sproule and Ciceri became partners in Toronto's NHL franchise, which was renamed the Toronto St. Patricks with Sproule as secretary-treasurer and business manager. During the season, Sproule became head coach of the team and held the job until the end of the 1919–20 season. NHL record books list him as coaching 12 games with a record of seven wins and five losses. Sproule became an NHL referee during the 1920–21 season and also returned to the OHA as a referee.
Coaching record[edit | edit source]
|Team||Year||Regular Season||Post Season|
|TOR||1919–20||12||7||5||0||-||(24)||3rd in NHL||Did Not Qualify|
|Toronto Maple Leafs Head Coaches|
|ARENAS: D. Carroll • ST. PATS: Heffernan • Sproule • F. Carroll • O'Donoghue • Querrie • Powers • Rodden •|
MAPLE LEAFS: Romeril • Smythe • Duncan • Irvin • Day • Primeau • Clancy • Meeker • Reay • Imlach • McLellan • Kelly • Neilson • Smith • Duff • Crozier • Nykoluk • Maloney • Brophy • Armstrong • Carpenter • Watt • Burns • Beverley • Murphy • Quinn • Maurice • Wilson • Carlyle • Babcock • Keefe
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