I had a axle that wouldn't come out. I had to remove the hub as you suggested. I used a 40 tonne press at work to push it out. It came out with a bang, thought I busted the knuckle, but all is well. The new axle went back in with no problems. If you don't have a press you will need to find a Auto Parts store that does the work (Maybe a NAPA) or a shop the can do the job. It's a 5 minute job on a press.
The other side came out no problems