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Gophers say 'Nevers again' as Edina standout follows family tradition and picks the U of M

After kicking the tires on a handful of programs that showed interest in his size and physical nature, Edina junior forward Jackson Nevers announced he will be a Gopher, like his father and brother.

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Edina forward Jackson Nevers (18) went hard after a loose puck in front of Moorhead goaltender Kai Weigel (31) on Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2022 at Dakotah! Ice Center in Prior Lake, Minn.
Eli Swanson / The Rink Live

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Gophers junior forward Mason Nevers missed the team’s Wednesday practice, still dealing with the possible flu bug that’s been making rounds inside the team’s locker room for a week now. So it was a bit odd to see Mason’s father, Tom, and Mason’s younger brother, Edina star forward Jackson, taking in the team’s skate at Ridder Arena.

An hour or so later, Jackson’s social media feed gave a good reason for their unannounced pop-in at the rink. Jackson, who is a junior for the Hornets and is expected to play in the USHL in the spring, had a sit-down with Gophers coach Bob Motzko, then announced that he will follow dad and brother in a few years, and will skate for the Gophers once he starts college hockey.

In 10 games for the Hornets as a junior, wearing the "C" for the perennial powerhouse, Nevers has recorded 11 goals and three assists, and is expected to play USHL hockey for the Waterloo (Iowa) Black Hawks in the spring.

While older brother Mason is known as the brains of the Gophers second line, Jackson is more widely regarded for his size and willingness to play a physical game.

“Jackson is more shoot-first, power, go to the outside, drive the net, and is never shy about hitting anybody,” said Tom Nevers, who has accepted a hockey scholarship to play for the Gophers in 1989 before choosing more than a decade in pro baseball instead. Jackson, who will turn 18 in July, is listed as 6 feet tall and 185 pounds.

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The Nevers family made official visits to four schools, and in the end chose the one they knew best.

"I knid of have an inside view of the Gophers with my brother going there, and growing up, going to Minnesota games, what's not to love," Jackson said after the Hornets practice on Wednesday evening. "Seeing it all today, I knew it was a pretty easy decision."

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Edina forward Jackson Nevers (18) slides into Maple Grove goaltender Toby Hopp (1) after taking a shot during the first period Thursday, March 10, 2022, in the State Hockey Tournament at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Jason Wachter / The Rink Live

In the early fall he had visited a few other schools, then took time off from the college considerations to focus on his junior season with the Hornets. Gophers coaches reached out over the holidays, when Edina played in a tournament in Prior Lake.

Jackson said he has learned everything he knows about the game from his father and brother.

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"Mason probably comes to two of my games each year and gives me little pointers and things to make me better," Jackson said. "My dad coached me growing up, always positive, super influential."

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The Nevers family includes (left to right): Tom, Chase, Stacy, Mason and Jackson.
Contributed / Nevers family photo

As for getting the college choice out of the way, Jackson said announcing the decision is like a weight off his chest.

After an 0-3 start to their season, Edina has gone 8-0-1 heading into a Friday the 13th clash with St. Thomas Academy.

Jess Myers covers college hockey, as well as outdoors, general sports and travel, for The Rink Live and the Forum Communications family of publications. He came to FCC in 2018 after three decades of covering sports as a freelancer for a variety of publications, while working full time in politics and media relations. A native of Warroad, Minn. (the real Hockeytown USA), Myers has a degree in journalism/communications from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He lives in the Twin Cities. Contact Jess via email at jrmyers@forumcomm.com, or find him on Twitter via @JessRMyers. English speaker.
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