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OHL Notebook: Sproul called up for short period, OHL changes policy

Wednesday, February 26, 2014   by: Brad Coccimiglio

As injuries continue to wreak havoc on the roster of the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings, it has turned into an opportunity for former Soo Greyhounds defenceman Ryan Sproul.

The former high-scoring defenceman was called up from the American League’s Grand Rapids Griffins on Tuesday by the Red Wings.

At the Red Wings prepare for their first game following the Olympic break in Montreal on Wednesday against the Canadiens, the team is expecting to be without forward Stephen Weiss (sports hernia) and defenceman Jakub Kindl (knee sprain). Both are expected to miss the Red Wings games in Montreal on Wednesday and on Thursday in Ottawa against the Senators.

Whether Sproul would remain with the team for their road trip was uncertain uncertain. Sproul was called up to assure the team had five healthy defencemen for practice on Tuesday as Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson were give the day off from practice Tuesday after winning a silver medal with Team Sweden at the Sochi Olympics. Sproul was eventuall sent back to Grand Rapids on Wednesday afternoon to make toom on the roster for Johan Franzen. Franzen is returning to the Red Wings lineup after missing time due to a concussion.

The former Greyhound has suited up in 53 games for Grand Rapids this season, scoring eight goals and 24 points.

The Red Wings are expecting to be without forward Henrik Zetterberg as well, likely for the remainder of the season as he recovers from back surgery.

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MITCHELL SETS MARK IN GUELPH

Guelph Storm forward Zack Mitchell set a new franchise mark on Monday evening as he suited up in career game number 314.

Mitchell is one of just two players to have played their entire five-year career in the Ontario Hockey League with the Storm. Cody McNaughton is the other player. Of note, Mitchell is also the OHL’s oldest player.

The 21-year-old has 97 goals and 231 career points. The Caledon, Ont. native is on pace to set a new career high in points, having already set a new career high in assists with 45. Mitchell’s previous career high in points, set in 2011-12, was 75. The overage forward had 71 points through 59 games this season.

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OHL UPS THE ANTE

The OHL has announced some changes with regards to player compensation as well as their education packages.

The change in education packages sees the league announce that players will have extra time to use the money they receive for post-secondary education. Previously, players had 18 months from the day they played their final game in the league to use the packages and the package disappeared if their signed NGL or American Hockey League contracts.

Now players have 18 months from the end of their overage season in the league, regardless of whether they play the season or not, to use the package. A player who leaves the league at 19 would conceivably have 30 months to put the education package to use. Also, the package remains valid if the player signs an AHL contract.

“One thing the league has done is say, ‘the only way your scholarship can be negated is if you should sign and play in the National Hockey League,’ ” OHL commissioner David Branch told Yahoo! Sports Canada. “So hopefully that has reduced some of the issues and concerns players have in following their dreams to pursue a professional hockey career.”

The league announced a new reimbursement plan that covers things such as gas, clothing and food among other things. The reimbursement plan, which is for up to $470 per month, will replace the weekly stipend previously given to players.

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