Re: What is the difference between NCDC and Premier (USPHL)?
Yes, NCDC is higher. It's tuition-free, pseudo Tier II hockey. I say pseudo because they aren't sanctioned by USA Hockey. It's really Tier II-A. Not as good as Tier II.
Premier is Tier III Pay-To-Play. Premier is national, over 50 teams. NCDC is only in the Northeast.
What's weird is, the Premier teams on orgs that have NCDC should be able to benefit from the spill-over of talent. They don't. Premier teams in other parts of the country tend to be better. From my experience, the NCDC players that are sent tot eh Premier teams are disinterested, and it shows.
As far as ages go, I imagine Premier teams do tend to be older, as you will get some good players with D-I commits already in NCDC if the parents don't want to send them out of the area at 16 or 17. Yoou dont get D-I commits in Premier, so it tends to be older players trying to get a D-III gig.