A group of Finnish police hockey players nabbed a man after an assault on a bus driver in Vancouver, police said Thursday.

On Sunday afternoon, seven Finnish officers, who are in Vancouver for the 2009 World Police and Fire Games, were driving to Burnaby when they passed a bus on the side of the street.

Antti Karhola, a detective sergeant with a national Finnish police force, said the bus driver was slumped over the wheel and was holding his head.

“One passenger stepped out from the bus and ran away around the corner,” Karhola said. “Some of us started immediately to run after him.”

The officers caught the passenger after two blocks and held him until transit security arrived.

“First, he thought it was Canadian cops that caught him. When he realized ... he began to scream, ‘You can’t hold me,’” Karhola said. “I think he was surprised.”

Const. Jana McGuinness, a spokeswoman for the Vancouver police, said the bus was travelling west on Hastings Street when two passengers got into a fistfight.

The driver, who had completed his six-month probation about two weeks earlier, saw the altercation behind him and pressed an emergency button.

He was speaking with transit security over the phone when one of the men punched him hard in the side of the face, slamming his head onto the steering wheel and honking the horn.

Derek Zabel, a spokesman for Coast Mountain Bus, said the driver was “shaken” by the incident but returned to work Wednesday after two days off. He left work later that day with blurry vision.

David Leopold Ruscheinsky, a 50-year-old Vancouver man, is charged with two counts of assault.