The NHL locked out its players for four months and that act threatened to do permanent harm to its product.
However, when the NHL and NHL Players' Association came to their senses and finally came to an agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the lockout ended and the NHL opened its doors to its players and fans.
The Chicago Blackhawks have made huge strides in the market since Rocky Wirtz took over the franchise following the death of his father William Wirtz in 2007, but those advances were threatened by the ill-advised lockout.
While the Blackhawks have an appreciative and loyal following that regularly sells out the United Center, hockey is still very much a niche sport. When the Blackhawks and their NHL brethren were locked out, hockey was virtually ignored by the media.
When the NFL and NBA locked out its athletes in 2011, there was a loud hue and cry and public pressure played a key role in ending both work stoppages.
Commissioner Gary Bettman has evoked a strong following among the league's owners because business revenues have grown dramatically during his 20-year tenure.
However, he is reviled by fans who have watched him lockout players three times in that span.
While the lockout was in full force, the NHL lost local television revenue, advertising dollars, sponsorship deals and attendance.
Fans who might normally spend money on the NHL found other outlets for it.
The Blackhawks are the fourth-most valuable team in the NHL, according to Forbes Magazine. They are valued at $350 million and they made $20.5 million in profits last year.
However, they were hurt by the lockout and their loyal fans were angry.
However, a hot start has given the team a new lease. The Blackhawks have rolled out of the starting gates with a 6-0-1 record and have a chance to come away with the President's Trophy as the team that earns the most regular season points.
This would be a huge step for a team that lost its last two first-round playoff series.
The luster of the 2010 Stanley Cup is gone as that triumph has faded into history.
The Hawks need a solid season to retain their claim on the Chicago sports audience.
A long playoff run would help them do just that.