Nickerson, 19, appeared in 38 games with Clarkson University (NCAA) of the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC), posting five goals and nine assists for 14 points with 179 penalty minutes. His 179 penalty minutes and 61 penalties set an ECAC all-time single season record, while his 14 points led all Clarkson defensemen.
The 6-4, 235-pound defenseman was drafted by the Stars in the third round (99th overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. He played for the Texas Tornado of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) during the 2002-03 season, appearing in 47 games and tallying six goals and 23 assists for 29 points with 277 penalty minutes. The Old Lyme, Connecticut native led the NAHL in penalty minutes and was second in scoring by a defenseman.
Nickerson became the second Texas Tornado player ever to sign an NHL contract. Andy Wozniewski, a former Tornado player, signed an NHL contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Apr. 2, 2004.