Most Americans don't care about hockey, which means they can't begin to understand the stunned grief that Canadians are experiencing at the loss of Wayne Gretzky.

Yes, the Great One has been stolen by the Los Angeles Kings. He will leave behind his roots in Edmonton to bring his status as the greatest hockey player ever to the United States.Did his new wife make him do it? Possibly even more important than that, there's the little matter of a sticky free-trade agreement that the United States is trying to work out with Canada.

The loss of Gretzky may imperil free trade and Mulroney's very political career. One big reason many Canadians oppose the agreement is the fear that their country will become subservient to the United States.