A lock out in any professional sport is never ever easy for those directly affected by it or pleasant for those who simply like watching it. However, sometimes lock outs happen. Hockey is not the only professional sport to have endured a lock out, and just like the other professional sports, it will come back and be the professional sport all those who previously enjoyed it remembered it to be.
The NHL's lockout will not be the end of the league. Many sports, including hockey have survived lockout and came out as a better league because of it. The NHL is not ending any time soon. I think they need to just get back to where they once were when they were thriving.
If history has taught us anything it's that professional sports work stoppages never mean the end for that sport. At the absolute worst case scenario we will lose this NHL season. The owners and players will figure something out after that and we will have a new season next year. There is too much money in the sport for all parties to destroy the sport forever.
The NHL professional hockey league will survive this current lockout as it did a few years back. The main reason is that corporations and well-to-do fans will still buy the majority of tickets and luxury boxes to allow it to survive. It is sad that so many whose income relies on the game are being ignored by those few multi-millionaires arguing over their vast wealth. I wish it would not, at least for a few years, but sadly it will survive.