MONTREAL - At the end of a long work day many people like to go for a run or cozy up with a cuppa tea.

But for many women across Montreal, their preferred way to relieve stress is to hit the court and smash a ball as hard as they can.

The Cote de Liesse Squash Club plays host to the Women's Montreal Squash League, which was founded 15 years ago by Laurie Lanfer.

Lanfer sought to give women a chance to play what has often been considered a man's sport.

"It's a very smart sport, you've got to use your head," said Lanfer. "A female player will get a good jump on the sport because women tend to think differently from men."

Lanfer says while men often try to outpower other players, women cannot rely on bouncing a ball off the front wall and having it land in a back corner.

"For women you have to use strategy, you have to use technique, you have to use your head," said Lanfer.

Just over 150 women are in the league, and while Lanfer says growth in squash is slower than in tennis, soccer or hockey, the women who do play can't get enough.

"You get to meet a lot of people. There's always a chance to get better," said Emily Cheng. "That's what I really like about squash."

"I love it. It's exercise but it doesn't feel like exercise," said Debbie Van Blankers who has been playing for the life of the league. "I don't get better but I have fun."

The Quebec Open takes place at Club Cote de Liesse the weekend of March 23, and will feature top players from across the province.