Cubs skate off to St. Louis in Blackhawks unis

CHICAGO – Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon is big on civic pride and off-beat bonding rituals, so on Sunday he combined both of his interests into one event.

Each Cubs player boarded the team flight to St. Louis on Sunday evening wearing a Chicago Blackhawks jersey with their own name and Cubs uniform number on the back.

And they weren’t some cheap replicas either, but rather the same quality the actual Blackhawks players wear, meaning the tab for the entire thing easily was a couple thousand dollars.

The Blackhawks were playing host to the Minnesota Wild on Sunday night in the second round of the NHL playoffs and the gesture sent support from one Chicago team to another.

For a baseball team, flying to St. Louis wearing all red might not make sense, but in this case it works because St. Louis’ NHL team is known as the Blues, after all. And whether he meant it or not, the move also serves as a tweak to St. Louis sports fans because the Blues were eliminated by Minnesota in the first round of the NHL playoffs.

Maddon is big on themes for some flights to visiting cities. While he was manager with the Tampa Bay Rays, he had a James Bond-themed trip, one that celebrated Woodstock, a trip to Miami where players wore all white and others that included Rays letterman jackets and preppie fashions.

At the end of his media session with reporters following Sunday’s 5-3 defeat the Milwaukee Brewers, Maddon dropped a “Go Hawks” into the microphone before walking away. He was wearing his Blackhawks jersey with the No. 70, of course.