The New York Bobcats were removed from the league listing in mid-July of 2016. The team's head coach was named the coach of the New Jersey Junior Titans of the North American Hockey League and the team was unable to name a new head coach in a reasonable amount of time to prepare for the season and the team had attempted to relocate to the Jr. Titans arena in Middletown, New Jersey but was unable to work out a workable arrangement. The team announced that they were sitting out the 2016-17 season and would be planning on returning for the 2017-18 season.
USA Hockey approved the addition of the New Hampshire Avalanche as an expansion franchise for the 2017-18 season. The organization has a history of running teams from mite to U-18. The team is apparently a replacement for the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs who announced they were joining the USPHL for the 2017-18 season. The team will be based out of the Ice Den Arena in Hooksett, NH.
The top eight teams in each conference qualify with the division winners seeded 1 and 2 based on points and tie breakers with the balance of the teams being seeded 3 through 8 based on league operating rules. The traditional 1 v. 8, 2 v. 7 etc. format is used in the best of three first round. The eight first round winners are all re-seeded 1 though 8 based on league operating rules for the best of three second round. The four second round winners are re-seeded for the best of three semifinal round based on league operating rules. The semifinal winners meet in the best of five league final seeding will be base on head to head if they teams are from different conferences or league operating rules if they are from the same conference. The higher seeded team will have the choice of a 2-2-1 or 2-3 format with the higher seed choosing which games it wants at home if they choose the 2-3 format.
The top six teams in the North Conference qualify for the playoffs. The top two earn a first round bye. The 3 seed host the 6 seed and the 4 seed host the 5 seed in a single elimination game. The top four teams in the South Conference qualify for the second round.
The second round consist of each conference having a four team round robin with each round robin held at a separate location. The winning team from each pool will advance to the championship series which will be a two day two game with a 20 minute mini game if needed series for the league championship.