The beard is no more.
Canadian rugby star Adam Kleeberger is clean-shaven now, after having his beard – which gained notoriety during the Rugby World Cup – sheared off for charity Monday in Victoria.
And the man wielding the clippers was CBC’s Rick Mercer, who filmed the scene for an upcoming episode of his show, The Rick Mercer Report.
“It definitely feels weird now, having it gone,” Kleeberger said of his beard, which he began growing in January.
“But it’s nice to have my face back. And I was going to shave it off anyway, so it was nice to be able to do it for charity. I mean, why not doing something good with it?”
Kleeberger’s Shear the Beard campaign raised an estimated $5,700, with proceeds going to both Movember, which raises money for prostate cancer, and the Christchurch (New Zealand) Earthquake Relief Fund.
Kleeberger, a 27-year-old Semiahmoo Secondary grad who now lives in Victoria, got a first-hand look at the devastation caused by the Feb. 22 earthquake that struck Christchurch.
After Canada was eliminated from the World Cup, Kleeberger stayed behind with family to travel through the country, and spent time Christchurch.
“The city still has no central business district – it’s still just completely shut down,” he said.
“It’s been a while now since the earthquake hit, so we expected we’d be able to go down there, but it’s still (shut down).”
Kleeberger said he chose to help the earthquake relief fund after he and his national teammates received such a warm reception from the New Zealand rugby fans.
“They kind of adopted us as their second team,” he said.
Now back home, Kleeberger said he’s happy to leave the spotlight behind; he was among the more popular players at the World Cup.
He was featured by numerous media outlets, and his beard was the talk of Twitter and other social media sites during the tournament.
“It was awesome, but I didn’t expect it to get this big,” he said. “I was never quite comfortable with it, with being interviewed and that sort of thing, but everyone said I looked and sounded OK, so I’ll take their word for it.”
On the pitch, Kleeberger said he was happy with the strides his team made at the World Cup, though they know they let some opportunities slip away, such as the team’s second game against France, in which they were close to pulling off an upset before letting France pull away in the game’s waning moments. Canada finished fourth in its five-team pool.
“It was positive for the most part,” Kleeberger said. “But there were definitely some things we wanted to do that we didn’t do.”