He played junior hockey for the Cornwall Royals from 1975 to 1978 and was chosen 35th overall by the Boston Bruins in the 1978 NHL Amateur Draft. In 1978 he turned pro with the Rochester Americans and also played one game for the Bruins.
Nicolson played 1979-80 for the Binghamton Dusters and then took a year off. In 1981 he signed as a free agent with the Colorado Rockies and then was claimed on waivers by the New York Rangers in 1982. He played for the Tulsa Oilers in 1982-83 and 1983-84 and then played for the Binghamton Whalers in 1984-85. After playing six games for the senior Flamboro Mott's Clamatos in 1984-85 Nicolson retired.
In the NHL he played in 52 games and scored 2 goals and 7 assists.