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It was a distant third before the rebranding and it is after. Nothing has really changed. It's still a non factor in the grand scheme of things. Maybe that will change but without USAH support, I doubt it.
It's behind Canadian Jr. A so that pushes them down even further. Jr. A has several leagues across Canada. Not sure if they are all the same level but clearly BCHL and AJHL are better than NCDC.
The truth is, there are only so many "different caliber of player" around. Let's water-down Junior hockey now that we've killed Town Hockey, killed High School Hockey, killed the Catholic Conference, killed Prep Hockey and killed Full Season Hockey. Bravo!
There are far to many "tuition free" options that are much better resourced. Unless there is some other radical change that can differentiate NCDC, there is no reason for elite players from other geographies to play there. And there is still too many reasons for elite players from NE to go to the USHL or Junior A.
Root for it all you want but if you are outside of the USAH fold, you will never get close to those leagues.