On August 1, 2016, it was announced that the New York Riveters moved to the Barnabas Health Hockey House in Newark, New Jersey, situated within the Prudential Center. The facility was the site of the first-ever Isobel Cup Finals and shall be the site of the Riveters' home games during the 2016–17 New York Riveters season.
With the changes in arenas, it left the Buffalo Beauts, playing their second season at HarborCenter, as the sole team not to change arenas.
The 2016 NWHL Draft took place on June 18, 2016 and it was the second in league history. Defender Kelsey Koelzer of Princeton was selected first overall by the New York Riveters.
News and notes
August 2, 2016: The league announced a partnership with You Can Play, which will also see each team feature an ambassador.
August 4, 2016: The league announced that all four inaugural season jersey designs would be retired. All four teams enter the upcoming season with new jersey designs, that shall be voted upon by fans online.
October 7, 2016: Buffalo Beauts player Hailey Browne became the first transgender athlete in professional North American team sports, asking to be referred to by the name Harrison Browne. As the hormone treatments involved with gender transition violate anti-doping regulations, Browne will remain fully biologically female during his playing career. Browne then retired at the end of the season to allow for a full transition.
November 17, 2016: Part way into the league's second season, the NWHL informed its players that they would all be getting up to a 50% pay cut. The league claims the pay cut is needed in order to sustain the longevity of the league. This dropped the league player minimums to $5,000 per player. Five weeks later, in an attempt to partially compensate for the salary rollback, the league introduced an incentive program where players from the home team split the revenue generated by tickets sold in excess of 500 after each game.
February 3, 2017: The league announced that the season and playoffs would be shortened to accommodate for the players' participation in the 2017 IIHF World Championships and preparations for the 2018 Olympic teams. The season was originally set to end on April 16, following a three week break for the World Championships. The regular season was instead scheduled to end on March 12 and then followed by a single-game Isobel Cup playoff semifinals and final to be held March 17–19.