The National Collegiate Development Conference is the name of a proposed Tier II Junior A league announced on October 6, 2016. The United States Premier Hockey League announced they had submitted a formal application with USA Hockey to be certified as a Tier II league and that the matter was rejected by USA Hockey at a special meeting held on the topic in early December 2016. The bid was apparently rejected on two technicalities: the proposal was for 11 teams as opposed to 12 teams and a 50 game regular season as opposed to the required 60 minimum.
The league was announced as a tuition free league that will be based in the northeastern section of the United States. Eleven organizations that are already affiliated with the USPHL were announced as having been accepted in the proposed league.
The creation of the Tier-II league was apparently originally on the agenda for USA Hockey's January 2016 meetings. There was a proposed rule change involving rink standards which was put forward by the USPHL. Based on logistics this process would probably stop or diminish the North American Hockey League presence in the northeastern United States. Not all members of the Premier Division (only 7 of the 11 members for the 2016-17 season) would be involved in the jump to Tier-II as there are other factors other than rink standards that would come into play with the elevation in level.
The stated intent of the league was stated as:
- "For many years East Coast hockey players have desired a tuition-free option of junior hockey," said USPHL Commissioner Jeff Nygaard. "We have always been told it would never happen. The USPHL owners and operators are now making that happen through their continued commitment to both junior hockey an NCAA Division I development opportunities"
- Players who desire to stay closer to home in the East will now have not only a tuition-free option but be able to compete in what the USPHL feels will become a pipeline for training, development and NCAA Division I advancement. With 56 percent of NCAA Division I schools in the Northeast -- which matches up with the USPHL’s tuition-free footprint -- the scouting and development opportunities will increase significantly. Last year the USPHL had over 300 college commitments and the league plans on that number steadily growing as the tuition-free league solidifies itself in the marketplace"
On December 22, 2016 the USPHL announced that the Boston Bandits, Connecticut Nighthawks, Hartford Jr. Wolfpack, New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, New Jersey Rockets, and Northern Cyclones organizations are leaving the Eastern Hockey League and joining the United States Premier Hockey League for the 2017-18 season. This moved would bring six premier level and five elite junior teams. The 16U, 18U and youth programs of these organizations would also be involved in this move. The Boston Bandits, New Jersey Rockets, and Northern Cyclones would be also be part of the National Collegiate Development Conference when it commences play for the 2017-18 season.
The Connecticut Nighthawks would later drop from the NCDC but join the USPHL's Premier division for 2017-18
The following is a list of teams that were listed as being accepted into the new tuition-free division in the league's release , their present locales and arenas.