Hockey players will finally return to the ice, as the N.H.L. players' union today accepted the owners' "final" contract proposal, ending the 103-day lockout. After two days of round-the-clock negotiating, the two sides were able to hammer out agreements on all issues brought to the table, including the most contentious one, free agency. If the players' union ratifies the contract, league officials expect hockey to resume by the end of next week. The normal 84-game schedule will probably be shortened to 48, but all four playoff rounds will be played.