Hockey stars hurt in car accident

Michael Rand

Three Gophers hockey players were involved in a car accident on campus Wednesday morning, leaving two players with minor injuries.
Senior Nick Checco and co-captain Casey Hankinson both had stiffness in their necks after a truck collided into the passenger side of a car they were in, which was driven by teammate Tom Nevers. Nevers was not injured.
“I guess my neck is just a little bit stronger than theirs are,” Nevers said. “I told them I’ll do their grocery shopping for hurting them.”
As a precautionary measure, Checco and Hankinson were wearing neck braces before the Gophers practice on Wednesday. Checco’s condition appears to be the more serious of the two. He didn’t participate in regular practice drills. Hankinson was cleared to practice without a neck brace. It’s not likely either player will miss this weekend’s series with Michigan Tech.
As for future car trips with Nevers, Checco was skeptical.
“I’m never riding in the same car with him again,” Checco said.
Nevers nears baseball deal
The night before his car accident, Nevers received a piece of good news: Contract negotiations with baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals are all but completed for the two-sport athlete.
On Tuesday, Nevers reached what he called a “gentleman’s agreement” with the Cardinals on a one-year contract for next season. The Edina native will likely have to wait until after December’s draft before making the deal official.
“From my side of it, it’s done,” Nevers said. “I’m just waiting on formalities.”
The 25-year-old will be invited to St. Louis’ major league training camp in February and is guaranteed a spot on the organization’s triple-A team in Louisville. He said he has a slim chance of making the big leagues straight out of spring training.
Nevers was highly recruited in both baseball and hockey coming out of Edina High School. He was drafted by baseball’s Houston Astros and hockey’s Pittsburgh Pirates in 1989.
He has been practicing with the Gophers hockey team this fall, but he is not eligible to play in games because he wasn’t enrolled in classes last spring.
“I can at least know what direction I’m going,” Nevers said. “This will put closure on things.”