ATLANTA -- When Tom Glavine elected to sign with the Braves out of high school rather than with the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League, he didn't lose his interest in hockey. That fact has never been more obvious than this offseason, when the 303-game winner spent a good deal of his time coaching youth hockey in a big way.

Glavine didn't just coach a team, or even two. He helped coach four teams.

"I love watching these guys play," said a smiling Glavine after a December game. "They enjoy playing so much, and they have the same passion I had when I was kid."

As for the amount of time Glavine puts in, between weekly practices and games for four teams at rinks throughout the Atlanta area, Glavine said: "A big part of my enjoyment of sports when I was kid was having my parents there all the time. Now that I'm a parent, I have a greater appreciation for what they did. I just want to watch them have their fun."

While a senior in high school in Billerica, Mass., Glavine led his team to the 1984 Division I North Title and the Eastern Massachusetts Championships. His talent and reputation was such that the Kings made him their fourth-round Draft pick (69th overall). The Braves drafted him in the second round. Fortunately for Braves fans, he chose baseball over hockey, and the result is history.

Glavine remains a passionate hockey fan. He was one of the first to purchase season tickets to see the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers, and he is a frequent visitor at Philips Arena in downtown Atlanta. He was supposed to suit up and skate at a Thrashers practice in mid-January, only to cancel due to illness.

Glavine's wife, Christine, a Rhode Island native, is also an ardent hockey fan. It is no surprise that her son, Jonathan, 13, and the couple's two sons, Peyton, 8, and Mason, 7, all play ice hockey.

Glavine is a coach on all of his sons' teams, and another team, to boot.

"I'd been helping with Jonathan's team a little bit last year," Glavine said. "These guys, [Peyton and Mason], asked if I would coach their team. I wanted them to play a bit before I started coaching them. The guy who coaches them this season is a neighbor and friend, so I started helping out."

Glavine helps coach the modified traveling team -- the Irish Jr., on which Jonathan plays -- as well as Peyton's traveling team and a "mites" team, the Scorpions. Mason plays alongside Peyton on the Scorpions. Glavine also assists with a team of highly skilled older teenagers.

On the Scorpions, Peyton wears No. 10 and Mason wears No. 5. The two boys are fiercely competitive and competent skaters, and they speak proudly of Jonathan's hockey prowess.

"I want to play for the Irish Jr. when I get older," Mason said.

For now, Peyton and Mason work out on the ice several days each week, sometimes twice a day, under the watchful eye of their dad -- if the team can get ice time. Glavine was his usual stoic self while watching them play, hands in pockets or arms crossed over his chest. But he has his moments of typical parental emotion.

His eyes darted around the rink, watching the puck, watching the players. He occasionally shouted reminders: "Two hands on the stick, Mason!"

When Peyton nearly scored a goal, deflected by the goalie, Glavine's hands flew up in jubilation, but then landed on his head as he cried, "You didn't!"

Ah, the frustrations of coaching.