OK Canadians, brace yourselves for this. Ninety-nine percent of Americans have absolutely no idea what a "touque" is. I kid you not. I really wasn't aware of this until living in the US for nine years. My son was born in December 2006. As we bundled him up to take him home from the hospital, my wife and I had the following conversation:
Me: I think that Notre Dame touque you've got him wearing is too big. Maybe he should wear the one the hospital gave him....
Me: His touque. It's too big.
Wife: His what?
Me (slightly agitated): His TOUQUE. The thing on his head.
Wife: Oh, you mean his knit cap.
Me: No, his TOUQUE. "Knit cap," what the h*ll are you talking about?
At that point, my wife explained that she'd never heard the term "touque" before. I was astounded. My wife grew up in rural Minnesota, four hours from Minneapolis/St. Paul and four hours from Winnipeg. If any American was going to know what a "touque" was, it would have been her.
Since then, I've tried the "Touque Test" on all of my American friends and none of them, not a single one, has ever heard the term before. It's the craziest thing.
There's hope that this may change, though. Earlier this year, I watched with interest as the Buffalo Sabres and the Pittsburgh Penguins played the "Winter Classic" outdoors in Buffalo. Here's a picture of Buffalo's goalie, Ryan Miller:
To my utter amazement, Darren Pang, one of the commentators referred to the thing on the top of Ryan Miller's head as a "touque!" Now if only more Americans had actually been watching the damn game....