For two summers when he was 18 and 19 years old Coyotes coach Dave Tippett would trek up to northern Saskatchewan and set up camp amid the brush and bushes.

But this wasn’t a vacation from the junior hockey season that had just ended.

Tippett had taken a job as a firefighter.

“You were up in the bushes for 10 days and then you came out for five” he said. “When you’re a teenager and you work hard for 10 then get a five-day weekend it was a good thing.”

That’s why Tippett is more than willing to arrange his players into two teams tonight for an intrasquad scrimmage to benefit the families of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighters who died battling the Yarnell Hill fire June 30.

Game time is 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 and all proceeds will go to the families of the firefighters.

“You look at those young men” Tippett said. “It’s a hard job and they’re fighting fires to help our communities and when you have a loss like that you’d like to give back.”

Tippett was part of a five-member Helitech crew one of whom was a helicopter pilot.

“When there was a fire spotted they would drop us in to get working on it to try to get it contained early until they could get a bigger crew there” he said. “We were a lot of times in and out of fires but were in some ones that were significant.

“It’s hard hard work. It makes you appreciate how hard that is because not just the physical work but the conditions you work under are very tough.”

Tippett’s appreciation for the profession is matched by defenseman Keith Yandle who probably would have become a firefighter if he wasn’t so proficient at hockey.

“My grandfather was a fireman and I used to wear his helmet around the house” Yandle said. “It’s just something you just wanted to do and for me it was the main goal for me. But I’ll take where I am.”