After three years at the University of Wisconsin, Alley was hoping to play for the Chicago Black Hawks, the team that had drafted him 141st overall in 1973, but that was not to happen. Instead, he joined the US national team, playing at the 1975 World Championships and staying with the team all the following year to prepare for the Olympics.
At the 1976 Games in Innsbruck, the USA finished a distant fifth, and the following fall Alley returned to the U of W to finish his degree. From there he played with Birmingham in the WHA to start 1977-78 but quickly found himself in the minors. He again played for the US at the 1978 Worlds (sixth place) and returned to play all of 1978-79 with the Bulls back in the WHA.
Alley finally tried to crack the NHL, but in the next two years had only moderate success. He played just 15 games over two seasons with Hartford and retired in 1981 after spending most of those last two years in the minors.